Saturday, February 23, 2008

Late Night

Rock on,


Roger Stone?

This Roger Stone?

More Thread

Tomorrow is Sunday!! That's the day that Tim Russert is on my teevee!!!


Blur sucks, Oasis 4ever.

There wouldn't be so much squabbling on the Internet if Gus Hall were still alive!

The Wonder of the Internets

Note to Pundits: You know, Barack Obama does have a Web site with an extensive "issues" section. It's true. It's not even that hard to find!

Going Forward

If you travel to the comments section of basically any local newspaper article about the primary campaign, you'll find people putting forth the notion that Obama is a Manchurian Muslim candidate who hates America.

Whether they believe this stuff or consider it their patriotic duty to lie, I do not know, but that's what we'll get if he's the candidate. A fundamental question will be how this stuff is mainstreamed by the "respectable" press.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

yadda yadda

CUKURCA, Turkey (AP) -- Two Turkish soldiers and at least 35 Kurdish rebels died in new fighting in northern Iraq on Saturday, the Turkish military said.

The Lies of the Liberal Media

Yglesias says that McCain is lying. This, we know, is unpossible. "Straight Talk Express" is written right on the bus! McCain cannot lie.

Awesome Idea, James

If only we'd listened to James Carville we could have a DNC chair who campaigned for Republicans.

Breaking the Law

Well they admit it. Isn't there supposed to be a DOJ investigation or something? Bueller? Bueller?

ATM Closed

No more HELOC for you.

Several of the nation's largest lenders, along with smaller ones, are shutting off access to home equity lines in areas where home values are declining. It's an unusually aggressive move as the industry grapples with fallout from the mortgage crisis that began unfolding last year.

Now that home prices have dropped in many parts of the country, lenders are nervous that they may never collect the money that they extended to borrowers. They are responding by freezing or lowering the credit limits on home equity lines, leaving thousands of borrowers like Corazzi in the lurch.

"Nearly all the top home equity lenders I know of are doing this or considering doing this," said Joe Belew, president of the Consumer Bankers Association, which represents some of the nation's largest home equity lenders. "They are all looking at how to protect themselves as real estate values go down, and it's just not good for the borrowers to get so overextended."

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


Hopefully this encourages better behavior, though they'll just find other ways.

One of California's largest for-profit insurers stopped a controversial practice of canceling sick policyholders Friday after a judge ordered Health Net Inc. to pay more than $9 million to a breast cancer patient it dropped in the middle of chemotherapy.

The ruling by a private arbitration judge was the first of its kind and the most powerful rebuke to the state's major insurers whose cancellation practices are under fire from the courts, state regulators and elected officials.

Morning Thread

In the words of the wise Arabella, pax.

--Molly I.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Phony Soldier

The cowardly shrieking monkey right, in conjunction with the Bush administration, probably won't stop until they destroy another life.

What's one more to them, after all?



Oh My

Must be more of that parallel universe slippage.

Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson today contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf.

Paxson said he talked with McCain in his Washington office several weeks before the Arizona Republican wrote the letters to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station.

Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said in an interview with The Washington Post today. "The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings."

The recollection of the now-retired Paxson conflicted with the account provided by McCain about two letters at the center of a controversy about the senator's ties to Iseman, a partner at the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay.

More Thread

Start stitching, bitches!

--Molly I.

Evening Thread


Free Ride

It's so rare that criticism of the press from the left in any way actually makes it into the mainstream media.

Making Love

Frank Luntz is awesome.

They're All Experts

One of the most amusing thing about the wingnutosphere is that they all claim to be military experts.

McCain And The Press

The ultimate question of campaign '08 is whether the press will actually do their jobs and occasionally point out that St. McCain is full of shit, or whether they'll be so worried about McCain not bringing the fun in anymore if they write mean things about him that they couldn't possibly do anything to hurt their special relationships.


Hey, Tom Coburn finds a nut.

It is fascinating watching most other Republicans hug Iraq ever tighter.

They Didn't Kill The Internets

Adam Bonin looks at what's happened since various reform groups wanted to kill politics on the internet.

It's worth remembering that one of the big concerns was that people might, one day, be able to make videos! And put them on the internet! And ... that would be bad!!! It was never quite clear why that would be bad, but it did become clear to me that some on the reform community aren't just bothered by money in politics, but by politics itself. It's as if they wanted politics to be some highly refereed competition between candidates, rather than a big messy thing in which we all get to have a say even outside of the ballot box.

Jenga Time?

Bond insurer downgrades could be coming... CNBC's Gasparino said by the end of next week at the latest.

Even More Straight Talk From The Maverick

Saint McCain cannot lie, so obviously there's some sort of rift in the space-time continuum causing some slippage between parallel universes.

On Wednesday night, the Times published a story suggesting that McCain might have done legislative favors for the clients of the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, who worked for the firm of Alcalde & Fay. One example it cited were two letters McCain wrote in late 1999 demanding that the Federal Communications Commission act on a long-stalled bid by one of Iseman's clients, Florida-based Paxson Communications, to purchase a Pittsburgh television station.

Just hours after the Times' story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff--and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement emailed to reporters.

But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the September 25, 2002 deposition obtained by Newsweek. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."


Saint John of Straight Talking Maverick and Rick Renzi in Iraq.


Some of these examples of Clinton campaign spending, suggested to be somehow inappropriate, are perfectly fine. Parties, hotel rooms, and snacks actually cost money and campaigns sort of need them.

Rick Renzi, International Man Of Mystery


And he has 12 kids.

Oh My

Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ) indicted.

"Conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, insurance fraud, criminal forfeiture." (from CNN TV)

...AP says it's about a land deal.

...there were resignation rumors 10 months ago, though it didn't happen.

U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., could soon step down in the wake of a federal investigation into his involvement in a federal land swap deal and FBI raids of an insurance agency owned by his wife.

His resignation could come as early as Friday or soon after, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Here was his statement at the time.

For several weeks, I have been the subject of leaked stories, conjecture, and false attacks about a land exchange. None of them bear any resemblance to the truth, including the rumor that I am planning on resigning.




WASHINGTON — Prodded in part by some of the nation’s biggest banks, the Bush administration and Congress are considering costly new proposals for the government to rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners whose mortgages are higher than the value of their houses.

Not since the Depression has a larger share of Americans owed more on their homes than they are worth. With the collapse of the housing boom, nearly 8.8 million homeowners, or 10.3 percent of the total, are underwater. That is more than double the percentage just a year ago, according to a new estimate of the damage by Moody’s

This isn't necessarily a problem for all of these people. Not everyone needs to sell their house. It will be difficult for people who lose their jobs to move to a new one. If broader economic troubles continue, and unemployment rises, this will add to the difficulties.


Where did that come from?

It's a brand new day

"You're free, little bird!"

(Couldn't find the song I wanted, so try this instead.)

Not Atrios

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Rock on.

Sexual Purity

It's tough being Rod Dreher, spending his days obsessing about what every woman on the planet is doing with her vagina.

Godspeed, Rod, Godspeed.

...and kudos to "BeliefNet" for putting Teh Awesome back in religion.


I'm so old I can remember when sloppy and casual comparisons to Nazis were rightly met with rather loud condemnation.

I suppose we can thank Jonah Goldberg for the new state of affairs. Awesome, Jonah!

A Little Help For John King

I know journamalisting is hard and "the google" is quite the mystery, but since he accused Obama of refusing to disclose his earmarks I thought maybe he could use a pointer.


More debate thread.

Eschaton Endorsement

I promise to endorse the candidate who, in tonight's debate, says something like the following:

Not only are we going to Texas, we're going to Ohio and Rhode Island and Mississippi and Wyoming and Pennsylvania, and we're going to Guam and Indiana and North Carolina … And we're going to West Virginia and Kentucky and Montana and South Dakota and Puerto Rico, and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeaararh!!!

McCain Cancels Presser

But why? Most of the questions would be along the lines of "How do you feel about that 'smear' from the New York Times?"

Another Debate?

Oh noes! When will the madness end?!

Question of the Day

[I]s it Communist Negroes having sex with our white women? Or are Communist Jewesses subverting black Americans who, patriotic though modestly ill-treated, would have been able to resist had the party not offered them the tempting fruits of miscegenation?

We'd better figure this one out.

Hulk Still Smashing


Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. Senate, filed for re-election Thursday despite a federal investigation into his ties to an oil field services contractor.

Federal authorities are reviewing the remodeling of the 84-year-old's official residence in a resort near Anchorage; the contractor helped do the work, but Stevens hasn't been charged and has said he paid all bills presented to him.

King County Chokes On Big Shitpile

Lucky duckies.

King County officials placed $207 million in investments that were subsequently undermined by the subprime mortgage crisis and expect to see proposals soon for a bailout.

Taxpayers could lose up to $83 million, county officials say, but the state treasurer thinks the county should write off the entire $207 million.

(ht reader p)

Campaign Impressions

This an "I have a sense that" post, based on impressions and therefore not necessarily empirically true, but... I have a sense that there are a hell of a lot of internal Clinton campaign stories lately. You know, campaign insiders talking about the inner battles to reporters, sometimes reporters who I think Democrats should have the sense enough not to talk to, especially not about that kind of stuff. And not so much from the Obama side.


Hellish Density

A lot of discussion about density assumes false choices, such as you either live in a high rise condo or in a suburban home, and there's nothing inbetween. Much of Philadelphia looks a bit like this, only more post-apocalypse like.

These are four story places fairly close to the center city business district (where the tall office towers are), and are probably divided up into apartments. But all over there are two and 3 story single family home versions, typically with 12-2500 sq. ft, a small outdoor space or parking spot in the back, and perhaps a balcony or roofdeck. Provides enough density/foot traffic to support neighborhood-centered retail.

Even More Mavericky Straight Talk!

If he says it then it's true. Fascinating!!


The war is still over.

BAGHDAD, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Iraqi police said on Thursday they had found the bodies of 15 men, including 10 soldiers, who had been blindfolded and shot execution-style in the head.

The bodies were found in ditches in Diyala province close to the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.


What I've found on this blog is that many people can't comprehend that there are benefits of density (there are downsides, too, of course). They associate it with either urban ills, or the lower rent version of suburban development which tends to incorporate many negatives of density (smaller lots, etc.) without any of the benefits (walkable communities with retail, etc.)

In many areas, desirable dense areas just aren't an option for people. More than that, they don't have any experience with it so when they do come across it they find it aesthetically weird.

Still, as Kunstler is fond of pointing out, people do spend lots of money to go on vacations in places which have the kind of walkable communities we're talking about (resort towns). They just don't choose to live in them, or they aren't available as an affordable option.

That's Some Straight Talk

Interestingly, McCain isn't simply denying an affair, or denying corruption allegations, he's essentially saying the entire story was fiction from start to finish.


It is, of course, a freakish event when Saint John Of Maverick Straight Talk gets any negative press.

Unending use of the phrase "maverick," and unceasing praise of McCain's "straight talk," have shaped a highly favorable public image ... at a time when ratings for his fellow members of Congress are in the drink.

As an adoring Jacob Weisberg put it on Slate, sniffling over McCain's 2000 loss, "McCain challenged all that is hidebound, joyless and mind-numbing in American campaigns."

McCain is allowed to dominate any and every issue on which he chooses to cross the aisle in Congress. He is omnipresent on Sunday talk shows.

Between 1997 and 2006, McCain had 135 appearances as a guest on "Meet the Press," "This Week" and "Face the Nation," far more than runner-up Joe Biden with 91. McCain was usually able to hold forth alone rather than sharing the stage.

The favorable press coverage has airbrushed McCain's temper and remarks that would get any other politician in trouble.

It was, after all, McCain who referred to Leisure World as "Seizure World." He once joked: "The nice thing about getting Alzheimer's is you get to hide your own Easter eggs."

Less Than Perfect

I agree that for a variety of reasons the NYT story was less than perfect, though the Post version was better.

The really fascinating thing is how all 3 cable news networks have gone into full "defend McCain against the dastardly NYT" mode, something we, uh, generally don't see when a John Solomon Special attacking a Democrat appears.

The Roof Deck Primary

Clinton up 12 over Obama here in the Keystone State.


Philly Fed index down.

Contraction in U.S. Mid-Atlantic factory production accelerated in February as manufacturers pulled back in anticipation of an economic downturn, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

The regional central bank said Thursday its business activity index stood at minus 24.0 this month, down from an already weak minus 20.9 in January, which had been its worst reading since the 2001 recession, and well below forecasts.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of minus 11.0. Readings below zero represent contraction in the industrial sector.

And new jobless claims, while not extremely high, are still at a higher level than they had been. And the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits is going up.

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans receiving unemployment insurance climbed to the highest since October 2005 as faltering economic growth prompted companies to cut payrolls.

The number of people continuing to collect benefits rose to 2.784 million in the week ended Feb. 9, from 2.736 million a week earlier, the Labor Department said today in Washington. First-time jobless claims decreased by 9,000 to 349,000 in the week ended Feb. 16, from a revised 358,000 a week earlier.

Not For Everyone

One thing the Irvine Housing Blog reminds us is that the act of buying a house involves a large transaction cost. Real estate commissions are the big obvious part of this, though they aren't the only cost.

The broader point is that despite the rhetoric of many, home ownership just isn't for everyone. If you're relatively mobile, or think you might be, it isn't a smart financial transaction even if you expect decent appreciation of house prices over your expected tenure.

Done In By Seriousness

Golf declining in popularity. I've never played golf and so I don't really know, but hearing about it from people over the years I got the impression that it evolved to some degree from "excuse to get away from your family and drink beer for 4 hours" to a more competitive, serious, sober affair. And what's the fun in that?

Blogging Outsourcing

Because I haven't had coffee yet. Yglesias:

Obviously, I don't know whether or not McCain had sex with Iseman. I suppose by "what the meaning of the word 'is' is" standards, he didn't even deny having had sex with Iseman. Certainly it'd be a bit rich of McCain to get outraged that anyone would even suggest that he might engage in sexual improprieties. After all, it's well known that he repeatedly cheated on his first wife Carol, of a number of years, with a variety of women, before eventually dumping her for a much-younger heiress whose family fortune was able to help finance his political career. That's well known, I should say, except to the electorate, who would probably find that this sort of behavior detracts from McCain's "character" appeal.

Meanwhile, there's all this stuff Salter doesn't deny (because, again, it's true) about McCain's questionable ethics. He wrote "letters to government regulators on behalf of the [Iseman's] client," he "often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support," he resigned as head of a non-profit when "news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor," his Senate office and his campaign are run by corporate lobbyists, etc.


That's how CNN is treating this dreadful attack on St. McCain.

Because, you know, "Bill Bennett says..."

...adding, I'm pretty sure the anchor said Bill but most likely I misheard or he misspoke and the point was "Bob" or "Robert Bennett says..."

It's Howdy Doody Time!

I hope nobody thought the media weren't going to turn ugly on Obama once he became the presumptive nominee, because ain't no way.


Anyone got some snacks?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Late Night Blogging

Outsourcing to the Polk award winning JMM.

...adding the point that how this unfolds will largely depend on how the Obama campaign and its surrogates choose to handle it. I'd say the same about the Clinton campaign, but like everyone else they ignore my advice.


The last notorious person in politics from my alma mater was Craig Livingstone.

Just sayin'.

Ney Ney

My BFF is free at last!

Dear New York Knicks

You were beaten by 40 points. By the Sixers. Who stopped trying about 10 minutes before the end.


The subject of John McCain's sex life is now being discussed publicly.

(Reaches for whiskey, funnel)

I don't know where the Boss is...


McCain alleged to have have a wacky problem familiar to all Clinton fans.

Fresh Thread



Obama's raising a lot of it.

I know some people find the "who's raising the most money" thing one of the more annoying things about political coverage, but I actually think it's pretty important. Getting the support of lots of donors greatly diminishes the importance of big donors and big donor networks.

Clinton, too, has raised a decent amount of money from smaller money donors, so this isn't just an Obama thing. The important thing is that as more campaigns understand that there are ways they can try to attract large numbers of small donors, they'll reorient their priorities. Those $2000/person checks aren't going away, of course, but their relative importance might decline.

The Gates of Hell

As someone (sorry, forget who) suggested in comments, it appears that McCain will chase Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, unless of course those gates are in Pakistan.

Truly weird.

And he's against torture but for waterboarding, which isn't torture except when it is.

Two Weeks Until The Next Ones


Two Campaigns

There does seem to be a basic narrative out there that the Obama campaign leaned more heavily on organizing and volunteers than did the Clinton campaign. This seems to be true, but is it?


A Taste of Things To Come

Bill O'Reilly plans a party.

I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.

Attack Supporters

Really not the best way to go about things.


Mr. 19%

Holy crap.

Overall, 19% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 77% disapprove, and 4% are undecided.

(ht reader g)

At Least The War Is Over

Over there:

MUQDADIYA - A suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest in a market in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing seven people and wounding 17, a source in the town's hospital said.

* TAL AFAR - A suicide car bomber killed a woman and a 6-year-old girl and wounded eight in an attack on an identity cards office in the town of Tal Afar, 420 km (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said. Tal Afar's mayor put the death toll at two killed and four wounded.


BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers when it struck their vehicle in northwestern Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials said 15 policemen were killed and more than 45 wounded in the Ubaidi district of eastern Baghdad on Tuesday as they tried to defuse rockets that had been prepared for launch from the back of a truck.

It's been over 2 years since Joe Klein tut-tutted people who wanted "precipitous withdrawal."

There was a profound change in the debate over Iraq in Washington last week. The central issue is no longer how best to prosecute the war, but how best to leave it. This appeared true for many of President Bush's strongest supporters and even for some of the most adamant traditional hawks in Congress—as Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha's call for a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops most vividly demonstrated. The Senate resolution calling for a "significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty"—that is, Iraqi control of the war effort—in 2006 was less vivid than the House's ugly theatrics surrounding the Murtha proposal, but perhaps more meaningful. Senate Democrats failed to win a commitment to the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops. But the wording of the resolution wasn't nearly so important as the subtext. Politicians of both parties felt the need to express some sort of dismay about Iraq. And no one offered an amendment calling for a more robust U.S. military effort to win the war. That now seems beyond the realm of political possibility.


Murtha did not talk about the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal. No one really has. The most passionate discussions in Washington last week were about the past—whether the President intentionally misled the country into war—not the future. They are a waste of time. Two questions need to be addressed: Will an American withdrawal from Iraq create more or less stability in the Middle East? Will a withdrawal increase or decrease the threat of another terrorist attack at home? It does not matter whether you believe the war was right or wrong. If the answers to those questions are less stability and an empowered al-Qaeda, we'd better think twice about slipping down this dangerous path.

That was Nov 20., 2005. And what a precipitous withdrawal it's been!

Who Are These People?

Thinking I might have to scrap the massive Atrios Tribute Room at Eschacon...

Bush Justice

America 2008:

When asked if he thought the men at Guantánamo could receive a fair trial, Davis provided the following account of an August 2005 meeting he had with Pentagon general counsel William Haynes--the man who now oversees the tribunal process for the Defense Department. "[Haynes] said these trials will be the Nuremberg of our time," recalled Davis, referring to the Nazi tribunals in 1945, considered the model of procedural rights in the prosecution of war crimes. In response, Davis said he noted that at Nuremberg there had been some acquittals, something that had lent great credibility to the proceedings.

"I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process," Davis continued. "At which point, [Haynes's] eyes got wide and he said, 'Wait a minute, we can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can't have acquittals, we've got to have convictions.'"

Lessons Learned

Fox News's Special Report yesterday:

GOLER: The president says it's better that African nations deal with African problems. White soldiers in Darfur, he believes, would be targets for all sides.

BUSH: A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces tend to divide people up inside their country and are unbelievably counterproductive.

The museum was the Rwandan genocide museum.

Alternative Business Models

Somehow this fits the era:

After Miami handyman Glenn Rudge was accused of shoplifting an $8 set of drill bits at Home Depot, he thought he'd settled the matter when he showed his receipt to prosecutors and they dropped the charge.

But a few weeks later, a law firm hired by Home Depot began sending him letters demanding first $3,000, then a total of $6,000, implying he'd be sued if he didn't pay it.

In an escalating battle against theft, retailers are going after anyone suspected of shoplifting, turning over their names to lawyers and collection firms, who pursue the suspects for stiff penalties and split the take with the retailer.

There is little oversight of a system retailers call "civil recovery," created by special laws passed in all 50 states. With no proof of theft, the retailers demand money -- often $200 but sometimes far more -- and promise to avoid suing if it is paid quickly. Laws vary by state, but in general, retailers can demand these sums even if the item at issue was worth far less and was quickly recovered and put back on the shelf.


Obama wins Hawaii.

Early thread

I'm having another extended morning coma, so go see if you find anything interesting here.

Not Atrios

Overnight Thread

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"A Force To Be Reckoned With"

Noron and Howard "The Duck" Fineman agree: it's Cindy McCain.

Oh lordy.

Digby the Optimist

I don't think this will be over on March 4th...

One Year Ago

Watching (Tivod) Obama's speech now. He suggested he started this campaign a year ago. I suppose he did. It was in June of 2006, over dinner in some Vegas hotel the night before Yearly Kos, when someone told me, "Obama's running." I don't think I believed it.


Obama's the wiener.


I'm not sure what will happen tonight, but whatever it is it will certainly be good news for Rudy Giuliani and very bad news for The Terrorists and Their War On Us.

Evening Thread

As Atrios often notes, he really does have the stupidest trolls on the internets.

--Molly I.

Fresh Thread

Off to drink liberally soon. There may even be a special guest there!

And did I really just see Jeri Ryan at my gym?

Save Me From The Stupid

The hot topic on MSNBC is the fact that Cindy McCain made a political jab, or whatever we're calling it these days, against Michelle Obama.

And this is the stuff that matters.


PA Delegates Again

Since there still seems to be some uncertainty about this, let me try to explain again.

In PA we vote for a delegate linked to a candidate. All votes for a particular candidate's delegates by district are essentially allocated to that candidate, and delegate numbers are assigned based on the total vote share each candidate receives. It's true that Clinton's failure to have a full delegate slate is unlikely to affect the actual allocation of delegates, but there still could be some impact on number of votes received. There will be fewer Clinton spaces on the ballot.

Not the biggest deal in the world, but still a campaign failure. There is a reason candidates actually bother to try to get names on the ballot.

Your Candidate Sucks

Primary season really makes the internets extra stupid.

any. day. now.

As Mark Schmitt notes, the silence from the "reform groups" about McCain's financing shenanigans is deafening.

Deep Thought

I wonder when Politico will give us the "scoop" that Clinton is planning to hire the hit man who killed Vince Foster to take out all of Obama's delegates.


First Inside Edition, now Talking Points Memo.

(i keed)

Ready to Lead

Not exactly confidence building.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign failed to file a full slate of convention delegate candidates for Pennsylvania's April 22 primary.

This despite the possibility the primary proves critical and despite Clinton owning the full-throated support of Gov. Rendell, state Democratic Party leadership, Mayor Nutter and, presumably, the organizational skill all that entails.

And despite a Rendell-ordered extension of the filing deadline that could be viewed as more than just coincidental.

Missing almost 10% of them.

...adding that people who suggest this is stupid and doesn't matter are wrong, and I think the reporter got it a bit wrong too. Here's how things work in PA:

Pennsylvania's primary is essentially a beauty contest. The outcome of balloting for the actual presidential candidate has absolutely no bearing on the selection of delegates who run in separate races by congressional district. True, the top candidates in the presidential balloting can create a coattail effect for their delegate candidates, but a vote for a specific candidate for president is meaningless unless the voter also casts ballots for that individual's delegate candidates.

The process is a bit simpler for Democrats, whose party rules require candidates for delegate to the national convention to run "committed" and places the name of the candidate to which they are pledged beneath the delegate's name on the ballot. This gives voters a precise guide to which delegates they should vote for on behalf of their preferred presidential candidate.

We vote for delegates, not the candidate, and not having named delegates on the ballot is a problem

Dodgy Dossier

The claim was, of course, utterly absurd on its face to sentient human beings not employed as pundits in our leading periodicals and teevee networks.

LONDON -- An early version of a British dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq did not include a key claim about weapons of mass destruction that became vital to Tony Blair's case for war, the newly published document showed Monday.

The 2002 document insisted Saddam Hussein's regime had acquired uranium and had equipment necessary for chemical weapons, but does not contain a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes -- an allegation crucial to Blair's push to back the 2003 U.S.-led invasion -- that later was discredited.

Campaigners allege that the 45-minute claim was inserted into later drafts of the document on the orders of Blair's press advisers, who were seeking to strengthen the case for invasion -- a claim the government has strongly denied.

More Cuba

When I say nothing will change, I meant specifically that US policy towards Cuba is unlikely to change. "Freedom and Democracy" in Cuba is just code for "give all the property back to the exiles" and that's unlikely to happen as it's all been bought up by European investors.

Beyond The Darkness of Slavery

Red State rascals.

Billion Here, Billion There

Another trip to the confessional.

PARIS — Credit Suisse on Tuesday announced new write-downs of $2.8 billion that cut $1 billion from its profit, in a stunning reminder of the difficulty banks face in valuing complicated financial instruments under current market conditions.

Ah, the difficulties. It's oh so hard to put a price tag on Big Shitpile.

Bye Castro

Presumably nothing will change.

HAVANA (AP) - An ailing Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he was retiring and will not accept a new term when the new parliament meets Sunday.

"I will not aspire to nor accept - I repeat, I will not aspire to nor accept - the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief," read a letter signed by Castro published early Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma.

Good morning, brothers and sisters!

It's a typical grey, overcast day in London, and I'm trying to remember if Bush ever did anything that would have made sense if he actually had any decency. I can't think of one. It's always been useless crap like this, hasn't it? - stuff that's all harm and no good.

Not Atrios

Monday, February 18, 2008


Thanks, Darcy!

Late Night

Tomorrow is Tuesday!!

More Stupid Security Theater

Oh boy.

Amtrak will start randomly screening passengers' carry-on bags this week in a new security push that includes officers with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains.

The initiative, to be announced by the railroad on Tuesday, is a significant shift for Amtrak. Unlike the airlines, it has had relatively little visible increase in security since the 2001 terrorist attacks, a distinction that has enabled it to attract passengers eager to avoid airport hassles.

Trains are not planes, and random checks like this are pointless.

I'm a Loner, Dottie, A Rebel...

Why, yes. Yes he does.

Open Thread


*Jake Tapper & Howard Wolfson may consider this plagiarism.

The Superdelegate Strategy

To be clear, I don't mind politicians engaging in a bit of politics, what annoys me is either ludicrously bad politics or rhetoric which reinforces right wing bullshit about our side.

Is dismissing the voters and caucusgoers a good way to woo the superdelegates of those states?

What About Texas And Ohio?

Do they not count either?


Abandoned homes can really mess up a neighborhood.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The nation's foreclosure crisis has led to a painful irony for homeless people: On any given night they are outnumbered in some cities by vacant houses. Some street people are taking advantage of the opportunity by becoming squatters.

Foreclosed homes often have an advantage over boarded-up and dilapidated houses that have been abandoned because of rundown conditions: Sometimes the heat, lights and water are still working.

"That's what you call convenient," said James Bertan, 41, an ex-convict and self-described "bando," or someone who lives in abandoned houses.


He said a "fresh building" — recently foreclosed — offered the best prospects to squatters.

"You can be pretty comfortable for a little bit until it gets burned out," he said as he made the rounds of the annual "stand down" where homeless in Cleveland were offered medical checkups, haircuts, a hot meal and self-help information.

Another Year Gone

It's true, I'm officially older today. Like last year it'll probably only take a couple of days before people start remarking that the age listed on the blog hasn't been changed for some time.

It's also the end of FEBRUARY FUNTASTIC FUNDRAISING. Thanks to all who have contributed so far, and after today the begging bowl goes back into hibernation until I go on another slot bender with Bill Bennett for a few years.

Silliest Season

Please just make it all stop.

Huggy Bear

It's really quite hilarious that it's okay when Saint John McCain flip-flops, lies, goes against claimed longstanding principles, etc... because even though he does all of these things regularly and constantly, he doesn't like doing it.

McCain's a skilled politician who is good at telling members of the media - and interest groups - what they want to hear. He's good at making them think he agrees with them on whatever issue they happen to care about, and even though he almost never follows up with any coherent action or leadership on these issues, he has flattered the chattering classes by validating their Very Wise Positions and appealing to their intellectual vanity. Then when Saint John McCain is forced by Circumstances Beyond His Control to change his position, everyone involved feels very sorry for poor John McCain. Elites have contempt for those rubes known as "voters" so it pains them when voters force their sainted John McCain to do all of these bad things.

Our elite discourse is run by shallow easily flattered fools.

Take My House, Please

Things change.

A total of 47 cases were scheduled for hearings Thursday in his Santa Rosa bankruptcy court, each involving a creditor seeking permission to seize a debtor's property.

While a few cases dealt with debts on cars or commercial properties, the vast majority involved lenders attempting to foreclose on homeowners who had sought safe haven in the courts from the fallout of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Instead of fighting for their homes, however, most didn't even bother. In case after case, homeowners simply let lenders begin foreclosing on homes that are now worth less than the mortgages owed on them.

So instead of an arduous morning filled with adversarial hearings, most cases flew by.

"I've never seen anything like this before," Jaroslovsky said before the hearing. "I've never seen so many people care so little about losing their homes."

Microtrends in Texas

Either one takes this at face value, and those people who are presumably paid a lot of money and/or generally have important roles in the campaign didn't bother to learn how this stuff works or one sees it as... a way of claiming another state somehow doesn't count.

Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state's unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

Like Hilzoy I just find the whole framing of this weird. I'm not sure whether clueless/incompetent or bad pre-spinning is the true explanation, but either way...

As I've written before my biggest problem with Clinton isn't Clinton - I like her! - it's some of the people she surrounds herself with. Aren't they supposed to be the ones who know what they're doing?

And The Other War is Over Too

Remember how we invaded Afghanistan, got rid of the Taliban, and created a paradise? That was awesome.

(CBS/AP) As relatives and friends buried the victims Monday of the deadliest blast to hit Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion, another suicide bomber killed 35 civilians at a busy market in the same province, a police official said.

At least 28 people were wounded in the market attack, apparently targeting a Canadian military convoy in Spin Boldak, a town in Kandahar province near the border with Pakistan, said Abdul Razeq, the Spin Boldak border police chief. Two Canadian soldiers were wounded, he said.

The death toll from the Sunday blast on the outskirts of Kandahar city rose to more than 100 on Monday, according to a provincial governor, who also said he had warned an anti-Taliban militia leader targeted in the attack that militants were trying to kill him.

Happy President's Day

The most special day of the year.

Morning Thread

Now, what's going on today?

Oh yeah!

--Molly I.

Overnight Thread

Sunday, February 17, 2008


John King:

King: Gov. Romney is a young man. I think he is thinking about his future political viability and does not want to be seen as the Republican who stayed in the race, roughing up a man who will most likely be the party's standard there in the general election.

Hillary Clinton was born 6 months after Mitt Romney. Both are 60. Any chance anyone in the mainstream media will ever describe Hillary Clinton as a "young woman?"

Late Night

Tomorrow is a very special day.

Open Thread

Please enjoy this random assortment of animal pictures and rants.

There, now NTodd owes me.

The Rule of Law

We can tell them that torture is wrong, too. Then we can all have a good laugh.

Of course the lesson of all of this is might makes right, and the imperial power can do what it wants while making rules up for the little people. Nobody could predict that some people might not appreciate this arragnement.

An Unpleasant Coincidence

That's one way of putting it. Some people may just need to find a new line of work.

Wanker of the Day

David Brooks.


Northern Rock:

LONDON (AP) -- Treasury chief Alistair Darling said Sunday that struggling bank Northern Rock PLC will be nationalized after the government rejected two private takeover bids.

Darling told a news conference that the ailing mortgage lender would be placed under temporary public ownership because both bids had failed to meet the government's demands.

Trust Matters

Buying a house/getting a mortgage is a complex transaction which requires a reasonable degree of trust. People always say things like "read what you're signing!!!" and whatnot, but ultimately these transactions are only going to happen smoothly if the people involved have a reasonable expectation of honesty from their real estate agent and their mortgage broker/banker. Take that away, and this is what you get:
Although some lenders initially resisted paying for assistance, the industry has begun backing community groups that help them find these borrowers. The math is simple: The typical foreclosure costs more than $50,000. It is usually cheaper and less time-consuming to lower the borrower's interest rate, put them on a repayment plan or sell the home at a loss. To stem the foreclosures, the mortgage industry says, lenders need to reach people they call "no-contact borrowers," those who have eluded or rebuffed them.

There are lots of them. From September 2005 to August 2007, 53 percent of the loans backed by Freddie Mac that went into foreclosure involved borrowers who could not be reached.

Many of these homeowners do not expect, or trust, offers of help from their lenders, say community groups that have become active in this work. Some borrowers tried reaching out before an interest rate increase pushed the monthly payments out of their reach, only to be told to call back after they fell behind.

"They feel that the lender has put them into this bind, so they are not returning phone calls," said Marcia J. Griffin, president of HomeFree-USA, a local group that works with home buyers and homeowners.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — David Axelrod, strategist for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign; Howard Wolfson, communications director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign; Richmond Mayor and former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former presidential candidate Bill Bradley; Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence; Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle; Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

And The Other War Is Over Too

Just in case we'd forgotten that awesome war.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blew himself up in a large crowd gathered at a dogfighting festival just outside this city in southern Afghanistan, killing some 80 people and wounding nearly 100 more in the country’s worst single bombing since 2001.

According to witnesses and officials, the bomber killed a local police chief, Abdul Hakim Jan, a number of his guards and scores of villagers attending the event in the district of Argandab, just north of Kandahar city.

Fear thread

Mark Fiore on FISA.

Osama heightens the contradictions.

Not Atrios