Saturday, April 05, 2008


Y'all know about Cursor, right? It's a wonderful source, and we should all support it.

Just my opinion, of course.

Not Atrios

Deep Thought

I would never be stupid enough to spend 10 minutes looking for the belt I was already wearing.

Deep Thought

Insulting people is an awesome way to persuade them.

Did They Have Rooms Then?

I wasn't born yet, so I don't know, but I'm skeptical.

Dog Days In Denver

This stuff really is fascinating.

For hundreds of homeowners in this mostly middle-class corner of Denver — and an estimated 1.2 million more nationwide — the wave of foreclosures battering U.S. financial markets is quickly unraveling the American dream. Those who have lost homes here describe seeing their lives crumble into anxiety and embarrassment. Many leave for cheap apartments or rooms with relatives, a trend that is tightening the market for affordable housing.

This small corner of the Mile High City represents an extreme example of how foreclosures are transforming lives and neighborhoods. On some blocks, as many as one-third of the residents have lost their homes, making this one of the worst hotspots in a city that was among the first to feel the pinch of the foreclosure crisis. Many houses here remain empty, bank lockboxes on the front doors.

The foreclosure epidemic has swept so quickly through this part of Denver that in less than two years, lenders took action on 919 of the roughly 8,000 properties here, according to city records. Their owners defaulted on more than $171 million in mortgages they had used to buy their way out of apartments and into cul-de-sacs. Many were buying homes for the first time, in what seemed the most affordable of the city's new subdivisions. They paid their way with easy credit — sometimes secured from aggressive lenders who appeared to look past the checkered credit histories and unstable jobs of some of their customers. Ultimately, many of the buyers couldn't afford their mortgages.

Unless municipalities are prepared to take elaborate and sustained measures, some of these neighborhoods are going to be destroyed. Abandoned homes and lots, though a common feature of my neighborhood, really create neighborhood problems. And much contemporary suburban construction isn't exactly especially high quality. Looters, squatters, weekend partyers,...


Finally a bit of almost warm weather here in Philadelphia. Sadly the coffee shop I headed to this morning had just closed up, perhaps a sign of the looming recession (joke).

Stupid Campaign Finance Reporting

I recommend reading this primer by DHinMI. It isn't the biggest deal in the world, but it's one of those subjects that reporters frequently report in a completely misleading way. And unlike some issues, this one is rather simple and something they should (and probably do) understand. Corporations cannot give money to candidates. When people donate money to a candidate, they list their employer. But most people who give money aren't doing so because they think they're pushing the interests of their employer, they're just normal citizens donating to their favorite candidate. Corporate PACs, while still coming from individual employees in theory, are a bit different. The money still doesn't come from the firm itself, but obviously they exist to advance the interest of the firm/industry and there might be some informal coercion which gets employees to contribute to them.

Light Posting Day

I need a break, and Ted Stevens shoved a hulk tie into my intertubes again.

Morning Thread

Because, as Starsky and Hutch know, Huggy Bear is always right, even when he's wrong.

--Molly I.


Go to sleep loser liberals.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Sonny Bono probably wasn't whacked by highly trained assassins after all.

Evening Thread


Hope Thread!

MORE: There must be a joke in here somewhere:

"Asked who was best suited to join McCain on the Republican ticket, Boehner said the running mate must be younger than McCain"...

But I just can't think what it might be.

Evening Thread

Out for the evening soon. No Battlestar Galactica spoilers allowed.

No flirting either.

Don't Talk About The War

It really is quite stunning.

Last November, I noted that ABC's Nightline, its long-running signature news program, had essentially boycotted Iraq as a news story. I found that over an 18-week span, from mid-July through late November, Nightline aired approximately 230 separate news segments, only one of which was about events on the ground in Iraq. In the 17 weeks since then, Nightline has continued to look the other way, which means that over a nearly nine-month span, during which time more than 300 reports aired, Nightline has effectively ignored the war in Iraq as a news event.

Friday Afternoon

Shouldn't somebody be resigning in disgrace right about now?

Deep Thought

I'm sure one of my readers has a means of procuring awesome tickets to the upcoming REM/Modest Mouse/The National show.

Colbert Nation

There's no way to actually parody these people anymore.


Apparently 70% of Americans want to stick it to whitey.

Not a Revolution

Big Media Matt says what I've tried to say many times, that no one is trying to turn the entire country in Manhattan. It's about creating economically viable spaces, often with rather modest changes in policy and focus, in which automobile reliance is reduced. These spaces require walkability and a sufficient population density to support certain kinds of neighborhood retail and services. Decades of bad policy and planning have worked in the other direction in many places which were pretty well-suited for this kind of thing, as a standard urban response to white flight was something like, "People are moving to the suburbs? Let's make the city more like the suburbs!"

And no one is trying to make every place like this. Some people like the country! Some people like exurbs! Some people like typical suburbia! But I do believe that many people would like the option to live in such placed, and those options are fairly limited or nonexistent in much of the country.

Fresh Thread

I got nothin'.

So Tired Of The Stupid

I have to read a lot of the internets every day. This primary really has made them come with extra stupid lately. Lots of people making transparently stupid arguments and pointlessly snide remarks. I appreciate that there are committed, strong, and opinionated supporters of both candidates and have nothing against a little bit of heat in political rhetoric....but please, please, cut out the stupid...

Deep Thought

I wonder how many two-bit security guards have been killed in Patrick McHenry's favorite war?


Washington, D.C. Office

224 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Telephone: 202.225.2576


Bad jobs report.

US employers cut payrolls by a bigger-than-expected 80,000 in March, adding more evidence that a housing downturn and credit crisis has pushed the economy into a recession.

It was the third monthly decline in a row and the biggest in five years, according to the Labor Department.

Adding to the bleak picture, the department revised the first two months of the year's job losses to a total of 152,000 from a previous estimate of 85,000.


Economists polled ahead of the report forecast a decline of 60,000 in non-farm payrolls and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5 percent.

...bad reading comprehension in the morning. I thought that paragraph was saying the unemployment rate was 5%. It isn't, it's 5.1%.


Another farewell, For NOLA blogger Ashley Morris.

Not Atrios

Wrong Track

Seriously screwed up numbers.

Americans are more dissatisfied with the country’s direction than at any time since the New York Times/CBS News poll began asking about the subject in the early 1990s, according to the latest poll.

In the poll, 81 percent of respondents said they believed that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track,” up from 69 percent a year ago and 35 percent in early 2003.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Not particularly deep thought thread


Not Atrios


Gonna Take His Ball And Go Home

How much longer before he takes it to Crawford?

They Write Letters

John Conyers writes to GOP Daddy Mukasey.

Lovely Idea, But...

Sure it's a nice feel good thing with some benefits if a bunch of people volunteer to clean the streets of Philadelphia. But then they'll go home, and more trash will be generated and scattered around. The city needs to have more comprehensive street cleaning, more public and regularly replaced garbage receptacles, and to a least consider having more frequent trash collection in some areas.

Deep Thought

If someone offers you a sample of quality Jamón Ibérico, you eat it.

...and with a little pa amb tomàquet....mmmm....

Conservatives and McCain

Rick Perlstein:

But what is it that made supporting a senator who has earned an 83 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and votes with his party 88.3 percent of the time feel like mourning in the first place? They weren't this hard, after all, on fair-weather conservatives Bob Dole in 1996 or George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992, were they?
Conservatism is, among many other things, a culture. The most important glue binding it together is a shared sense of cultural grievance--the conviction, uniting conservatives high and low, theocratic and plutocratic, neocon and paleocon, that someone, somewhere is looking down their noses at them with a condescending sneer. And to conservatives, McCain has been too often one of the sneerers. It is, as much as anything else, a question of affect. As Michael Reagan wrote, "I don't like the way he treats people. You get the impression that he thinks everybody is beneath him."

They are not entirely imagining things. Birds fly, fish swim, McCain preens: it has ever been thus. His preening has turned the thin-skinned crypt-keepers of conservatism hysterical. "McCain's apostasies," Charles Krauthammer recently wrote in the Washington Post, "are too numerous to count." They aren't, really. Some conservatives still call the Republican nominee "Juan" McCain, for what Reagan calls "such blatantly anti-conservative actions as his support for amnesty for illegal immigrants." But of course Reagan's sainted father, in signing the 1986 immigration bill, was a more unapologetic and effective advocate of "amnesty" than McCain ever was--and you don't hear him getting labeled "Ronaldo" Reagan. Note, also, that other supposed bugaboo of conservative ideology: pork-barrel government spending. McCain is the Senate's leading fighter against spending earmarks. If pork was what they truly cared about, he'd be a hero. But that stance has earned him no points on the "conservative" side of the ledger.

The issues aren't the issue. George Stephanopoulos once asked Tom DeLay what it was conservatives demanded of McCain, and DeLay admitted as much: "I don't think they're demanding that he change in his position," he said. "It is attitude."

In other words: it's the ring-kissing, stupid. Consider George H.W. Bush's attitude: he all but groveled before conservatives--first calling supply-side doctrine "voodoo economics," then swallowing hard and accepting a spot as voodoo priest Reagan's running mate. Bob Dole, formerly a proud budget balancer, lay prostrate before them in accepting a 15 percent across-the-board tax cut as the cornerstone of his 1996 presidential platform, then took on movement hero Jack Kemp as his running mate.

The 40th president of the United States.

Afternoon Thread

You talk too much.

--Molly I.

Open Thread

Feel the Gravelmentum. Endorsed by Squeaky Fromme.

Very Shatneresque.

via John Cole.


I grew up during the "latchkey kid" era, when it was pretty normal for fairly young kids to have to do superhuman tasks like navigate their way from the bus stop to home and then spend a couple of hours alone before a parent would show up. At the time this wasn't necessarily seen as a good thing, but concerns were much more about kids being lonely and lacking human interaction than they were about lack of adult supervision and safety issues.

Obviously things have changed quite a bit, and I'm often shocked at how old kids have to be before parents are comfortable leaving them alone. It's their call, but definitely times have changed quite a bit.

And, yes, it's perfectly safe to put your 9-year-old on the subway. It isn't a choice every parent would make, and that's fine, but it's a perfectly sound choice.

And the woman who did it gets it right, that accidents and bad things can always happen and since parents get blamed for them they feel the need to go through elaborate steps to shield children from very low probability events. I'm reminded of my college days, when rape awareness education for women was all the rage. It started off in a sensible place, but it also gave women a list of "risky behaviors" which made them feel responsible for their own rape if they actually did crazy things like walk out alone at night.

Crazy to be a Kid

I really don't understand why childhood behavior is being shoehorned into adult norms, and normal behavior issues are treated as criminal problems.

More Restaurant

The issue in the funny comment below isn't that someone should be spending their money at nice restaurants instead of fast food. I don't care how this person spends their money. And obviously for poor people fast food can provide a very cheap if not exactly healthy price/calorie meal.

It's the sneering at the idea that some people might actually enjoy something this person doesn't. They're idiots! Fools! Suckers! They've been tricked into spending money! Ha ha! They aren't as smart as I AM!!!

The general genre of telling other people how they should enjoy life and spend money and time is one of their more irksome things which has a lot of representation on the internet. I'm not talking about good financial advice, I'm talking about pointlessly criticizing other people for how they choose to spend their time and money.

The bits about tippping and bachelorhood were gravy.

Serious Wanking

Ari Melber takes a look at sprezzatura's book.

By combining the fact-free observations of a futurist pundit and the hypocritical tirades of a sinful preacher, Siegel's book is as unreliable as it is insufferable. Ironically, he sounds like the caricature of bloggers he denounces: uninformed, shrill, defensive, and self-obsessed.

Inferior Goods

Forget the post, this has to be about the funniest comment I've ever read on the internet anywhere.

Well, as a lifelong bachelor for 37 years, I'd say I stopped going into restaurants where you tip a waiter or waitress about 10 years ago. I've always averred that it's woefully wasteful. Why the hell should I pay extra just for someone to bring my food to the table? I'm perfectly capable of doing that myself. And the way I see it, food is just something I need to survive. That's why I either get 99-cent items at Burger King, Jack in the Box, or McDonalds or buy 99-cent microwavable items from the grocery store -- I don't need overpriced baby-back ribs from Chili's and the like. It's just frigging food any way you slice it. What really cracks me up are elderly people who go to overpriced cafeterias for food they're perfectly capable of fixing at home, because they're the ones who gripe that Social Security isn't enough income yet blow crucial dollars of their income for eating out. Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that they're entitled the money to eat out, nor is it written that a family of 4 is equally entitled to eat at Appleby's and T.G.I. Fridays and the like every weekend like so many families robotically do as if they're all pod people. So bravo to fast-food places that are getting improved business nowadays. They offer nondescript food at good prices that may not be as tasty as meat at Outback Steakhouse but are perfectly fine nevertheless.


Inga Saffron tries to prod the candidates into thinking about urban issues. As she suggests, a lot of urban issues aren't really urban issues in the way people think, but just general land use, development, and infrastructure issues that impact everybody. A lot of these things become more obvious and apparent in an urban environment, and I think having experience living in a city provides a useful perspective in thinking about these things, but they aren't simply "city issues."

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt, for publishing this crap.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Okay, we're in pain territory now.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of new people signing up for unemployment benefits last week shot up to the highest level in more than two years, fresh evidence of the damage to a national economy clobbered by housing, credit and financial crises.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance jumped by a seasonally adjusted 38,000 to 407,000 for the week ending March 29. The increase left claims at their highest point since Sept. 17, 2005, following the blows of the devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Shittier Shitpile

Was chatting with someone in a real estate related business this morning and he says there's about $12 billion worth of repairs needed on new construction in the Northeast due to bad stucco jobs done by crappy builders.


Morning Thread

While the state of the American educational system is depressing, it does have some comedic benefits.

Doug Feith: Ugly, Stupid, Etc.

Doug Feith will have a new book out soon. Our own Athenae, among others, was accurately calling Feith an asshole years before it was fashionable.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

And How Did That Happen?

I think the whole "earmark" discussion is stupid. One can ask for more transparency in the process, and a better process, but basically we're just talking about Congress specifying how money should be spent instead of having the Awesome Executive make those decisions.

But I'm enough of a "to the winners go some of the spoils" guy to wonder just how it is that in a Democratic Congress, conservatives are the worst earmark "offenders"...

Can't Win

Right or wrong, this is my understanding of the raison d'etre of the Clinton campaign.

Later thread

Thrill me.

Not Atrios

Evening Thread


Deep Thought

Who should be commander-in-chief of the boxing commission?

Deep Thought

Didn't Apollo Creed beat Rocky?

Florida and Michigan

There seems to be 3 issues getting all confused with respect to the FL and MI delegates. One question is whether some minor muckety mucks from places called "Florida" and "Michigan" get to go to the party in Denver. A second question is how many of those will be attached to Clinton and how many to Obama. A third is whether "the will of the voters" will somehow be reflected in #2.

Obviously the first issue can be solved very easily, by letting them come to the party without having them impact the election at all. The third is pretty much hopeless in Michigan and still bad, though less bad, in Florida. The second can be addressed with some sort of compromise, though not a compromise likely to be agreeable to both sides. But any sort of compromise also means that the 3rd question is pretty much not a concern.

They Hate Her

To answer Josh's question, and echoing a discussion I was having with BooMan yesterday, there are parts of the country where everybody truly hates Hillary Clinton, where late 90s era Freeper mentality governs. Democrats may not feel that way, but they're pretty few and far between.

Good News

The second season wasn't as good as the first, but it's good that Friday Night Lights will be returning.

Check it out if you haven't yet.

Nobody Could Have Predicted...

And on and on...

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A recent survey that found some Florida teens believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy has prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.

The survey showed that Florida teens also believe that smoking marijuana will prevent a person from getting pregnant.

State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.

The Rehabilitation of Joe Klein

If he would actually write something along these lines in the dead tree edition without adding some reflexive jab at dirty fucking hippies who, over 5 years later, want "precipitous withdrawal," then there may be hope for him yet.


We congratulate her on her recent engagement and on her recently opened Justice Department investigation.

And Why Was It Even Considered

Just don't understand.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Police in Houston say a 14-year-old girl who delivered a stillborn fetus in an airliner restroom on her way back from a middle-school field trip will not be charged with any wrongdoing.

Homicide investigators say they interviewed both the girl and a 14-year-old boy believed to be the father.

The Worst Person In The World

I'm not entirely sure why there's something about John Yoo and our nation's fond embrace of torture which bothers me even more than do Dick Cheney and George Bush. Obviously they're the ones who have ultimate responsibility for all of this stuff, but there's something peculiarly evil about not just doing bad stuff but providing elaborate justifications for it.

Stupid People


The co-founder and former CEO of the liberal-progressive Democracy Radio and husband of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was caught in February by a Troy police sting aimed at catching prostitutes, according to a police report.

Thomas L. Athans was stopped Feb. 26 by undercover officers investigating a possible prostitution ring in a room at the Residence Inn near Big Beaver and Interstate 75. Athans paid a 20-year-old prostitute $150 for sex in a Troy hotel but was not arrested, according to police reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Detroit News. The police report said officers observed Athans enter a room under surveillance and leave 15 minutes later. Detectives followed and stopped Athans' silver 2002 Cadillac DeVille on Interstate 75 near Square Lake Road.

Not Trying To Take Your Car Away

Reading comments about mass transit issues is always a bit fascinating. It's a useful reminder that most Americans literally have no experience living or spending significant time in a place which has a relatively decent public transit system, and they therefore have no way to comprehend it.

Shifting the emphasis to transit isn't simply about building more light rail systems, though it's that too. It's also about shifting the general emphasis in planning away from cars first, everything else second. That doesn't mean that cars aren't important at all, it just means that, for example, number of parking spots isn't necessarily the most important issue. Again, parking is an issue for any development, it just shouldn't be the primary issue.

Establishing more transit-focused cities isn't simply about setting up alternative methods of travel, it's about redefining how people interact with their their location. And, no, of course this isn't feasible or practical in many places in the US. But there are places, like much of Los Angeles, where the degree of existing population density means that more transit-focused development and planning (and more transit!) would likely improve life for many people. It would also change the way that some people live. But don't worry, there will still be plenty of places to drive your car!

Regular People

I don't know how anything will improve until this generation of pundits goes to leisure world.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about how he -- how's he connect with regular people? Does he? Or does he only appeal to people who come from the African-American community and from the people who have college or advanced degrees?

African-Americans: not regular.

They Write Books

Hey, Glenn wrote a book.


Cheap houses are great, but they need area jobs to go with them.

"This is a millionaire's market," said Jeremy Burgess, a 28-year-old investor from Washington state who has been living in Detroit for the past year. "I feel like I'm driving through the city and stopping to shovel diamonds in the back of my truck."

His wife, Jeanna Kiehle, and partner Jared Pomranky formed Urban Detroit Wholesalers to scour the city for houses they can fix and rent. The idea is to generate cash flow until the market improves, and they then can sell the houses. They own 38 houses now and close on 15 more before the end of the month.


Burgess said he can pick up an $85,000 house in Detroit for $20,000 to $30,000 these days. Listings on Fannie Mae's Web site show many Detroit foreclosures for less than $25,000.

I Got Polled!

I think for the first time I actually took part in a national political poll. The Public Policy Polling poll was a short automated poll.

No Commute

The whole podcasting phenomenon has always been a bit of a mystery to me as I don't have a commute, rarely drive, and prefer listening to music when I exercise.

But I suppose I'm not typical.

Torture Yoo

I'm sure Berkeley is very proud.

Morning Thread

Someone start Dad's coffee.

--Molly I.

Even Later

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Rock on.


Uncle Sam is going to eat it.


I don't know what it will take to convince the media industrial complex that John McCain doesn't know anything about anything and they only think he does because he's learned to cater to their intellectual vanity by pretending to agree with people about everything.

A Good April Fools


Fresh Thread


No Longer A GOP Daddy

I really don't understand why Democrats have a habit of worshiping any Republican who they imagine, for a time, might not be a complete and total corrupt hack. At least they're capable of falling out of love.

They Write Books

Amanda wrote a book.

On The Hook

Taxpayer bailout of Big Shitpile has officially begun.

The Worst Day On The Internets

I like a good April Fool's joke... if it's...good.

Stars Of Their Own Heroic Epic

Years later, it's hard to comprehend the depths of the narcissism of people like Berman who obviously see events in the world as nothing more than referendums on their own awesomeness. He and his fellow travelers spent years berating dirty fucking hippies like me for daring to suggest that maybe war in Iraq was not some awesome idea, but instead, you know, bad. And now he wants to claim he opposed it?

This a deeply broken person.

Your Supporters Suck

I've thought a lot about what Boehlert had to say about concerns about liberal bloggers channeling Drudgico type horseshit about Hillary Clinton. I think his basic point is important and correct, but he's wrong to make it an Obama/Clinton thing. One can certainly find pro-Clinton bloggers and commenters who do similar. Personally, I've tried to call media bullshit on both sides when I see it and as much us possible live by my basic rule of not reinforcing right wing narratives against Democrats. But I don't claim to be perfect or imagine that I always succeed at what I intend to do along those lines.

The key difference between the candidates right now is that Obama is winning, which makes piling on Clinton inappropriately a bit more unseemly.

Wanker of the Day

Paul Berman.

That's some quality Tosser Award level wanking.

Sorry, Paul, that spot doesn't wash out. The dead are all still dead, and you'll carry that to your grave.

I'm Sure These Events Are Unrelated

Don't mess with Philly.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson tendered his resignation yesterday, an abrupt move that caps a tenure dogged by claims of favoritism, including an allegation that he sought to punish the Philadelphia Housing Authority because of its dispute with music legend Kenny Gamble.

Also yesterday, PHA announced that HUD had given the local housing agency a one-year reprieve that would spare its losing $40 million in federal funds. The offer was contained in a letter sent Thursday and made public yesterday.

PHA Executive Director Carl Greene Jr. said the reprieve was a positive step that spares the agency from having to lay off 186 employees. PHA was set to lose special HUD funding status at 12:01 a.m. today. "It gives us a one-year transition period to exit the program as opposed to [today] being Black Tuesday," Greene said.


Shitpile still shitty.

PARIS — UBS, the largest Swiss bank, said Tuesday that it would write down another $19 billion related to the American real estate market and said that its chairman, Marcel Ospel, would step down.

UBS said the write-down would result in a first-quarter loss of about 12 billion Swiss francs, or $12 billion, and that it would seek new capital of about $15 billion, the second time it has announced plans to raise money since the credit markets began to contract.

And He Really Likes Fried Chicken

This country can't get anywhere until this generation of media nutcases goes to Leisure World.

Morning Thread

I was a great Duran Duran fan back in the day, but I'm not convinced they've aged well.

--Molly I.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.


I'm sure Howie Kurtz will get right on this with a blogger ethics panel.

Criminal Charges

I'll optimistically assume that they won't be filed, but the fact that it's even an issue is hideous.

HOUSTON (AP) -- A 14-year-old girl on a return flight from a middle-school trip delivered a stillborn fetus in the bathroom of an airplane and disposed of it in a waste bin, police said Monday.

The girl, whom police did not identify, said she didn't know she had been pregnant. Preliminary autopsy results indicated the fetus was stillborn and not viable, police said.


Police Sgt. Ryan Chandler said results of the investigation would be turned over to prosecutors ''to decide whether or not they're going to file any criminal charges.''

...and, yes, this does highlight the fact that men and women are indeed a wee bit different.

NYC Congestion Pricing

Approved by the City Council.

The key to its success - and popularity - will be whether it is REALLY REALLY EASY to actually pay the fee, with multiple methods of doing so. The system in London lets you do it by text message, cell phone, on the internet, and other ways.

People won't mind the fee so much as long as it isn't a giant pain in the ass to actually pay it. Perhaps someone could direct me, but I really haven't seen much coverage of what the payment mechanisms would be in New York.

Fresh Thread


Deep Thought

If only women could be as rational as men.

Even Slightly More Thought Out

Just a couple of responses to various comments in the post below. It's true I'm being sloppy and conflating "sex" and "gender." For those for whom it wasn't clear, the biological differences I'm referring to are primarily, though not entirely, the babymaking apparatus. The fact that women can have babies, and that babies are a consequence of an activity they might want to engage in even if they don't want to have babies, is a nontrivial difference between men and women which impacts their existences as individuals as well as their relationships with careers and society more broadly. I never suggested or claimed that all gender issues are limited to biology and are not socially constructed, but was just trying to say that even in some imagined utopia sex blindness wouldn't really be the point.

The Failed Clobama Presidency

You can read this Alterman article if only because he quotes me.

And then extending that quote a bit, just try to imagine a parallel universe in which a Democratic president had been stuck in the low 30s in the polls for 2 years. Imagine how they'd be treated in our media.

Not Helpful

It'd be nice if Democrats would stop legitimizing Fox, but this kind of thing is pretty typical from Rendell.

...what I mean is this is more of just Ed being Ed than some diabolical Clinton campaign strategy, though certainly they've had issues (often legitimate) with MSNBC.


They are stupid things.

Slightly More Thought Out

I guess the point I was suggesting below is that while racism and perceptions of racial differences are rooted in bigotry and ignorance, gender differences are actually, you know, real. I'm not entering Larry Summers territory here, but important biological differences between men and women actually exist. And while we can dream of race blind utopia hundreds of years in the future when past injustices have been corrected and atoned for and enough procreative racial deconstruction has gone on to render much of it meaningless, a feminist utopia wouldn't be gender blind, at least not until we can all download ourselves into one of Glenn Reynolds' androids. An Obama victory would signal that we've gone another step towards the future race blind utopia, and it would be a tremendous thing for this country, but having a woman as president of the United States wouldn't simply signal an advancement in attitudes, but would actual be more of an advance in and of itself.

I'm not making a hierarchy of ills argument here - misogyny worse than racism! - I'm arguing that racism is more about correcting our perceptions of difference, while gender issues are about creating a society where men and women, despite their differences, are on equal footing. And because of that, a female president might be more of an advance.

Or not.

Flame on!

...adding that (should be) needless to say there are lots of other reasons one might consider when choosing a candidate.

Gender and Race

I get a bit puzzled when people are annoyed by the idea that women might vote for Clinton, in part, because she's a woman. I think a couple of people have taken to the op-ed pages and taken the argument too far, arguing that feminism almost requires women to vote for her. But one cannot deny that having a woman become president would be a tremendous advance for feminism, and perhaps more than an African-American president would represent an advance for the cause of racial justice (this is not well thought out, so discuss!).

And, anyway, it can't be said enough that white men have been voting for one of their own for generations.


I have the opposite problem. Fear of being in cell phone range, fear of getting phone calls, fear of voice mail, fear of having to call someone.

Okay, not fear exactly, more like dread. I hate the phone. Viva email!


Shaping up to be another one of those days.

Cotton Pickin'

I'm actually happy to put "cotton ..." in the "stupid ass shit that comes out of your mouth on the teevee sometimes" category, but the rest of what Dobbs said is really what's offensive. He's teeing off on the fact that Rice actually suggested that maybe this country, as it was founded, was a bit problematic with respect to race and then goes on to complain that black people are always telling him what he can and can't say.


This sort of sentiment is actually pretty typical.

As part of its plan to ruin everything good and decent, ESPN let George W. Bush into the booth during the Braves-Nationals game tonight, where he proceeded to inform us of the great opportunities playing professional baseball offers inner-city youth.

Basically, if anyone from a poor background manages to succeed in some endeavor such as baseball, and go from being poor to rich, then its proof that such backgrounds aren't barriers to success. More than that, those who fail to become professional baseball players are just losers.

Lots of people in this country are basically born on 2nd and 3rd base and then manage to stay there for the rest of their lives. And many of them look down on those who start at home plate and fail to hit a home run.

Not Cheap

That's a high rate.


Thornburg Mortgage Inc. obtained an extension through Monday to raise $948 million to appease its financial backers, the lender said over the weekend.


A bond sale arranged to raise money at a 12 percent interest rate failed, and now the company is trying to sell $1.35 billion in bonds at an 18 percent interest rate.

This extension is the second for the bond sale.


It seems Raul Castro is making steps to get rid of the 3-tiered economy in Cuba. Basically for some time Cuba's economy has been split into 3. There was one economy for most of the citizens, based around unconvertible pesos from government set monthly salary. There has been the convertible peso economy, for Cubans who either had access to family money from abroad or who worked in tourist-related industries. And then on top of that was a dollar economy, for tourists. Aside from the money separation, there were restrictions on what most Cubans could do which prevented them from going into certain stores, staying in tourist hotels, riding some taxis, etc.

Simply lifting these restrictions isn't going to change the fact that most Cubans are very poor, but they were nonetheless a rather ugly feature of the place, making Cubans second class citizens in their own country.

Middle Class

It's true that given Manhattan's extremely high housing and other costs, "middle class" people are going to make a bit more money than they do in other places. But it's kind of weird how the WaPo quickly slips between "middle class" to "affluent" in describing this group of people.

Once upon a time, Manhattan was an island of adult thrills and vices. In the national imagination, it was a place of artists, musicians, socialites, Wall Street bankers -- or of hustlers, runaways, addicts, murderers. But it was not on the radar of the typical white, middle-class couple as a place to raise children.

Now demographers say Manhattan is increasingly a borough of babies, and more and more of them are white and well-off.


Indeed, according to Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, the median household income for this group of children was $280,000 in 2005.

In a reversal of a decades-long trend of flight to the suburbs, affluent couples are deciding to stay, at a time when crime is low, some schools have improved and urban life has a new allure, said Kenneth T. Jackson, a professor of urban history at Columbia University.

Ultimately, though, the article isn't so much about class as it is about race. It's about white people. Which makes it quite a bit weirder.

Philly Style

Bye Alphonso.

WASHINGTON -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is expected to announce his resignation Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, a decision that will deal a blow to the Bush administration's efforts to tackle the housing crisis.


Mr. Jackson's most-recent problems stem from a Philadelphia redevelopment deal. The city's housing authority has filed a lawsuit charging that Mr. Jackson tried to punish the agency for blocking a deal involving a friend of his. The allegations came up during congressional hearings this month. Mr. Jackson declined to answer questions, saying the judge in the lawsuit had instructed the department not to talk.

HUD has argued it wants to change the housing authority's special funding status because it lacks enough housing for the disabled.

In 2006, HUD's inspector general investigated remarks made by Mr. Jackson that some interpreted to mean that contracts were awarded in some cases based on political affiliation. The report didn't find any wrongdoing at the agency.

"Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?" Mr. Jackson was quoted as saying in the Dallas Business Journal. "Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Morning Thread

Vance Lehmkuhl of the Philadelphia Daily News does a podcast from EschaCon.

--Molly I.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Life is Beautiful

Not the Onion.

Max Mosley, one of the most powerful men in world sport, was under pressure to resign as boss of Formula One’s governing body last night after he was exposed enjoying a Nazi-style orgy with five prostitutes.

Jewish groups condemned the behaviour of Mosley, 67, whose father, Sir Oswald, was the leader of the British Union of Fascists and a friend of Adolf Hitler.

Mr Mosley was caught on video by the News of the World with five women in an underground “torture chamber” in Chelsea, where he spent several hours allegedly indulging in sado-masochistic sex.

The Oxford-educated former barrister, who is president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), reenacted a concentration camp scene in which he played the role of both guard and inmate.

Deep Thought


Poor George

Everyone hates him.

We Hates Them

So I'm pretty much exhausted after this weekend and it isn't just because I had to stay up late babysitting Ntoddler every night. While I do wake up at roughly the same time every day - except when one of the cats decides that puking on the bed in the middle of the night is a good idea - at not an obscenely late hour (though not especially early) as my morning post time stamps can prove, it's been quite some time since an alarm clock has been a part of my regular routine. So when I do have to set one, I spend the night worrying that I've set it incorrectly, that it won't go off, that I won't get up on time, etc...




The Council of Economic Advisers is down to one adviser.

Deep Thought

Your candidate's supporters suck.

Deep Thought

I could really use the gift of freedom fries right about now.


I assume this is excellent news for Rudy Giuliani.
BAGHDAD, March 30 -- Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Sunday ordered his armed militia to get off the streets in Basra and to cooperate with the government to restore security. In exchange, he asked the government to release prisoners and declare an amnesty.

The Iraqi government quickly welcomed the comments as a move toward restoring calm.

All Done

The stench of patchouli is fading, being replaced by Philadelphia's usual delightful odors.

Eschacon: The Final Chapter

Aside from all of the times I got to hear my own voice, probably the most interesting bit came from Scott Horton. The Siegelman story should get bigger, the Justice Department's Inspector General will release a real report about the attorney scandals, and all roads lead to Karl Rove...

Sitting in a coffee shop around the corner from where the final brunch will be in about an hour. Then I can kick all you dirty hippies out of my city!

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Meet the Press hosts CIA dir. Michael Hayden and a roundtable with New York Times' David Brooks and New Republic's Peter Beinart.

Face the Nation hosts NM Gov. Bill Richardson (D), Philly Mayor Mike Nutter, Dem strategist Joe Trippi and Slate's John Dickerson.

This Week hosts PA Gov. Ed Rendell (D), and Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Fox News Sunday hosts Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and the power player is Washington Nat'ls pres. Stan Kasten.

Late Edition hosts ex-State Dept. adviser Aaron Miller, NBC's Martin Fletcher, Chilean Amb. Heraldo Munoz, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dem strategist James Carville, and a roundtable with CNN's Dana Bash, CNN's Ed Henry, and CNN's Jeffrey Toobin.

Such An Awesome War

Nobody could have predicted...

Iraq's new army is "developing steadily," with "strong Iraqi leaders out front," the chief U.S. trainer said.

That was three-plus years ago, and the trainer was David H. Petraeus, now the top American commander in Iraq. Some of those Iraqi officials at the time were busy embezzling more than $1 billion allotted for the new army's weapons, according to investigators.


Nationwide security: In the latest shift, the Pentagon's new quarterly status report quietly drops any prediction of when local units will take over security responsibility for Iraq. Last year's reports had forecast a transition in 2008.

Bush's prediction: In January 2007, President Bush said Iraqi forces would take charge in all 18 Iraqi provinces by November. Four months past that deadline, they control nine provinces and none of the most volatile ones.

Cost: At least $22 billion has been spent to train an Iraqi military with narrow capabilities, critics and outside experts say.

Pentagon's view: Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the current trainer, said his team has made "huge progress in many areas, quality and quantity." Still, "we're not free of difficulties," he said, citing as an example a critical shortage of midlevel Iraqi officers that will take years to close.

Iraqi view: Dubik says Iraqi defense officials don't expect to take over internal security until as late as 2012 and won't be able to defend Iraq's borders until 2018.

Morning Thread

I admit, I'm pretty proud of the very cool things that happened here yesterday--can't wait to get home and read all the threads through. But it wouldn't have happened without my team of goddesses, including ql, res ipsa loquitur, watertiger, and the irrepressible V4V. Damn, what a weekend.

(Above: proof positive that I am not the worst parent in the world--there are others too. The 8YO made a fast friend.)

--Molly I.