Saturday, September 13, 2008


Rock on.

Political Bombardment From Behind The Orange Curtain

Very long time readers, if any of you still exist, might remember that as the one time tagline of this blog. I started this blog while leading a somewhat lonely and miserable existence in Orange County, CA. I think Avedon told me I should start a blog, and I did. "Atrios" was a name I'd used in various online forums previously, but then blogger demanded I come up with a name for the blog itself. I didn't spend much time mulling this over. I had a mild fetish for obscure literary references at the time, so I scanned my bookshelf for about 5 minutes until something popped into my head. Glancing at the spine of Infinite Jest, I remembered a game played by at the tennis academy at the center of the book, a WWIII-type simulation played on tennis courts with tennis ball machines acting as missile launchers. As I wrote, I didn't really give it all that much thought at the time, but it seemed to be an apt metaphor for political discourse in the blogosphere. I like literature, though I'm a generally bad literary critic, but the book's metaphor was, to me, about how the rules of war cannot hold, that they will inevitably break down. The application to the blogosphere was that the rules of civil discourse, which existed for a brief time in the post 9-11 "we're just a little community of bipartisan freedom lovers," would not hold either. And they didn't. Rules are not enough to create the conditions for civil behavior, in war or otherwise.


Well, that's quite sad.

David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 tome "Infinite Jest," was found dead last night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.

Jackie Morales, a records clerk at the Claremont Police Department, said Wallace's wife called police at 9:30 p.m. Friday saying she had returned home to find her husband had hanged himself.

Infinite Jest is a big beast of a book, a long hard slog, but well worth it.

No Deal

The reason that the LTCM non-governmental "bailout" worked was that it genuinely was largely a temporary liquidity problem. Lehman's drowning in big shitpile, so it just isn't clear what could possibly work.

Just Thread

No lies. We've had enough of those.

I Like Cows

Not a bad resume, really.

WASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as one of her qualifications for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.

Would It Suprise You?


Afternoon Thread



Over there.

They Ask Questions

John Cole:

Is there anyone dumber than right wing bloggers?

Yes. Los Angeles Times reporters, specifically one who had "a brief stint practicing them as press secretary to Laura Bush in 1999-2000."

Identity Verification

The most absurd security obsession.

Lies And The Lying Liars

Is there one thing she hasn't lied about?

WASHINGTON - Sarah Palin's visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate's campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America.

Following her selection last month as John McCain's running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a "military outpost" inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin's foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

But in response to queries about the details of her trip, campaign aides and National Guard officials in Alaska said by telephone yesterday that she did not venture beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border when she visited Khabari Alawazem Crossing, also known as "K-Crossing," on July 25, 2007.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Good morning

I wanna know.

Not Atrios

Friday, September 12, 2008


Rock on.

Deep Thought

I'm so old I can remember when competitors were rightfully scared to talk to each other due to concerns that the anti-trust division of the Justice Department might get excited.

Deep Thought

Only this blogger can see THE TRUTH.

Lies And The Lying Liars

Fox News is a very serious news outlet, one which liberals should embrace.

Later thread

And the stupid lives on.

Not Atrios

Late Night

Rock on.

Evening Thread


If It's Friday...

Might be worth checking this list in an hour or two.

Or maybe not!

Saint John Could Never Do Such A Thing

Even when he does.


And the lies will continue until the bobbleheads start repeating over and over again that John McCain is a liar, has a trouble with the truth, doesn't care who he deceives, etc.

Strange Framing


(VIENNA, Austria AP) — Oil prices slipped further Thursday despite concerns about Hurricane Ike's potential to harm refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico, falling U.S. crude inventories and an OPEC decision to cut production by 500,000 barrels a day.

Oil refineries consume oil. Knock them out and oil demand drops.

Facts Are Very Stupid Things

I suppose it'd be uncouth to discuss whether, as a journalist, Juan Williams has any obligation to accurately portray things.

Catastrophic Event Porn

Not sure if I should be watching the Weather Channel or CNBC.

Philadelphia Celebrities

I made the C-List!

...go demand that I be upgraded to "B," at least.

Media Decoder Ring


Lies And The Lying Liars

That, my friends, isn't straight talk we can believe in.

Hunker Down

I really hope this doesn't end badly.

HOUSTON — Cars and trucks streamed inland and chemical companies buttoned up their plants Thursday as a gigantic Hurricane Ike took aim at the heart of the U.S. refining industry and threatened to send a wall of water crashing toward Houston.

Nearly 1 million people along the Texas coast were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm, which was expected to strike late tonight or early Saturday. But in a calculated risk aimed at avoiding total gridlock, authorities told most people in the nation's fourth-largest city to just hunker down.


Hopefully not as bad as it looks.

NIMBYs Who Destroy Neighborhoods

It isn't my neighborhood, and I can certainly sympathize with people who might not want a new performance venue near them (though this is precisely the kind of location where such venues should be). But what's weird about urban NIMBYism is how often it has a single minded focus on parking. Projects are opposed on the basis of not providing enough parking, and the compromise is the provision of more parking. More parking brings more cars and reduces the appeal of neighborhoods. This particular spot is at the intersection of a trolley line and the El, about as close to mass transit paradise as you get in Philadelphia. I'd much rather have 400 pedestrians walking 150 feet to the El than 400 drunks getting into their cars at 12:30 AM.

Ah, Capitalism

How I do miss the days when we'd lecture Latin American countries.
The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are actively helping Lehman Brothers put itself up for sale, and officials are hoping a deal will be in place this weekend before the Asian markets open on Monday, according to sources familiar with the matter. The government is looking for an agreement that would not involve public money. One scenario that is emerging includes multiple suitors acquiring different pieces of the venerable investment bank, which has suffered staggering losses from its bets on real estate and mortgages.

Wanker of the Day

Tom Raum.

Retail Sales

Some more not positive economic news.


Things to worry about.

Not Atrios

Mars, Bitches!

It's small and red.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Second Greatest


The greatest piece of Bush-era art.

Late Night

Rock on.

Deep Thought

I wonder why wikipedia omits any details of Rick Stengel's long and varied service to his country.

Sympathy For Palin

It seems like people think that there's some simple expression of the Bush doctrine, a label which was applied to every stupid ass shit they came up with over the past several years.

Admittedly there is a simple expression of it, though not one that Palin could give:

1) Blow a bunch of shit up

2) ??

3) Peeance and Freeance!

Evening Thread



My friends, that's some awesome foreign policy we can believe in.


That, my friends, is transparency you can believe in.

The Maddow Decade

Beats KO, King in the demo.

You Can't Do It, My Friend

I hope an ad with this goes into heavy rotation in certain areas at some point.

Deep Thought

Kerry States + Ohio.

Afternoon Thread


Special Needs

Since I live in area that contains Real Live Poor People, I'm occasionally reminded that as with many things, most of our elite conversations about dealing with disabilities or children with special needs are about how upper middle class people do or could deal with such issues. One can't always tell a poor person on sight, of course, but there are often enough signals to reasonably make the inference, and seeing poorer people cope with their own disability, or a family member's, is sobering.


I guess the WaPo is going to.



Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner told Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to worry about its own finances, three weeks after the firm said the South American country could default within two years.

``Today the news in the papers, in all the papers, is the collapse of another bank far away in the United States -- that bank that predicted the collapse of Argentina,'' Fernandez, 55, said during a speech last night. ``They should spend more time looking at their own accounts rather than looking at other countries.''

Rape Kits

I actually haven't mentioned this story because there were a few details I wasn't quite sure about so I wasn't sure if it's as bad as it sounded. I guess it was.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.

Who knows, maybe we should have some sort of innovative libertarian a la carte police system, where you basically get billed for parts and labor whenever you call them. Access to the law based on your ability to pay, that kind of thing.

McCain Not Responsible For Own Campaign

Helpful, James.


This could be a problem.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American International Group Inc (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world's largest insurer, holds between $550 million and $600 million in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred shares, according to a source familiar with the investment.

Who owns which pieces of big shitpile?

For Normal People

The idea that being foreclosed upon should revoke your voting rights would seem, well, insane, but for Republicans it's a cunning plan.

Summer of the Shark

Aside from everything else, 9/11 was the day our mainstream news people promised they'd stop focusing on the trivial.

Oh well.

Shitpile Tales

Lehman and WaMu are disintegrating.

Bad timing, making the weekend bailout harder.

Bullshit Laundering

Our campaign press. Serwer:

It seems to me at this point that the press is simply acting as a very expensive middleman. We might as well get rid of the campaign press all together and allow the PR wings of either campaign tell us what's true and what isn't. Except the campaigns themselves need the press, because they need to be able to repeat lies and give them the veneer of truth by filtering them through a third party ostensibly committed to telling you what matters. If the campaign press didn't exist, the campaigns would have to invent them. And if they had, it's hard to imagine they would be much different than they are today.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Still high:

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 445,000 during the week ended Sept. 6 from a revised 451,000 in the prior week. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 440,000 claims last week.

The four-week moving average for claims, considered a more reliable barometer since it irons out weekly fluctuations, rose slightly by 250 to 440,000 in the week ended Sept. 6.

Early Morning

blah blah blah


If the WaPo editorial board can see through your bullshit, and you're a Republican, you are not fooling anyone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Late Night


At Least Someone Could Ask?

Fire off an email to Tucker "What is it with guys named Tucker" Bounds at least?

Liberal Hosts On The Teevee

Watching Jonathan Alter on with Maddow I'm reminded of an additional importance of having liberal hosts (radio and tv), aside from the fact that maybe they'll actually reach some viewers at home. I think that unless you really steel yourself for combat mode, it's generally human nature to try to find common ground with people you're talking to. So when people go chat with O'Reilly or Hugh Hewitt they're, to some degree, trying to find those areas of agreement. When mainstream center lefties like Alter go on Maddow's show, they're much more likely to be aggressive advocates of a more liberal position than they would otherwise. Host approval helps reinforce the view.

Franken used to do this on his radio show, though I think his sensibilities were always just a little bit too in line with such people for it to be as effective.

Maddow Day 2

Doesn't beat King, but holds most of KO's audience.

I Only Like The Non Bible Churches

Wow. fixed. Dunno why Roy's blog always does that...

St. John Comes To Town

More from the Inqy.

John McCain came to Philadelphia for lunch today. He flew into the airport at 2 p.m., motorcaded into the Down Home Diner in the Reading Terminal Market, ate with seven working women, made a statement, and went back to the airport.

This was a strange event. The candidate's lunch with the women was private. So we have no idea what they talked about. And the statement he made when it was over was largely drowned out by several dozen supporters of Barack Obama chanting "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!" They were in the main part of the market, out of sight but certainly not out of earshot.

Uh, John?

Philadelphia isn't really your kinda town.

PHILADELPHIA - Republican presidential candidate John McCain cut short his first public appearance without running-mate Sarah Palin after chanting supporters of Democratic rival Barack Obama interrupted his speech.

After lunching with a roundtable of women at Philadelphia’s Down Home Diner, McCain shook hands with supporters and strode up to a podium to deliver a statement. But as he spoke, chants of “Obama, Obama, Obama” filled the room.

Down Home Diner's in the Reading Terminal Market.

A reader informs me that McCain's security did prevent him from picking up his ordered pork belly from Giunta's, so perhaps McCain really does hate pork.


It's true that people are just going to be much more likely to drive places if parking is free and abundant, but it's also true that places where parking is free an abundant are generally horrible places to walk. Parking, especially large surface lots in front of retail areas, makes walking undesirable.

...anyway, to be clear, I really don't come at this from the perspective of wanting everyone to walk more. I come at it from the perspective of wanting policies which reduce the need for cars, along with the belief that even though people are still going to use their cars a lot, some more people other than me might want affordable options which let them take the SUPERTRAIN to work, stumble home from a pub, not be full time bus drivers for their kids, etc...

Evening Thread


Drill, Baby, Drill

And drill they did.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with - and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from - oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's inspector general.

The investigations reveal a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" by a small group of individuals "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards," wrote Inspector General Earl E. Devaney.

Afternoon Thread


Rick Sanchez Twitters


big govt shake up: Alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, and having sexual relationships with (more to come: 19 minutes ago from web

alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in 23 minutes ago from web

looking into this ap report: Investigators reveal illicit sex trysts between government oil brokers, energy company employees. whoa!

John McCain Has Super Powers


WASHINGTON – The White House said Wednesday that the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the seven years since the Sept. 11 attacks shows the limitations of military and intelligence power.

"This is not the movies. We don't have super powers," said White House press secretary Dana Perino. "But what we do have is very dedicated people who are working with our allies and trying to bring (al-Qaida leaders) to justice."


“I’m not going to telegraph a lot of the things that I’m going to do because then it might compromise our ability to do so. But, look, I know the area, I have been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden — or put it this way, bring him to justice…We will do it, I know how to do it.

Could Be OK

Mithras is right that the slots project has the potential to improve an area. Certainly if I were in charge of placing a casino somewhere it would be right around there. Apparently they want to build a hotel, too, which probably increases the desirability of it.

Joe Scarborough Explains How The "Liberal" MSNBC Works

MATTHEWS: Now, it'll die, as we said, it'll jump the shark. Two days ago, no, we're all talking about -- you're waving the tabloids around, come on. Two days from now -- I want to ask you, what will we talk about two days from now?

SCARBOROUGH: Whatever the McCain campaign wants us to talk about, because the McCain campaign is assertive.

And there you are.

As Good As It Gets

I, too, lived in Irvine for a bit so I'm familiar with what Kevin's talking about. It's what would happen if someone looked at suburbia and said, "all we need to do is make sure to add a few sidewalks and have shopping centers at regular intervals and we'll have built a walkable community." It's true that it is possible to walk places, and I think because of this it's an improvement over some suburban development. If your car breaks down, or you are too young to drive, you can still get to other places. Walking is possible. But, despite that Southern California weather, nobody does, and it isn't just a cultural thing. Things are built within walking distance, and there are sidewalks, but it still just isn't built with pedestrians in mind. You have to navigate giant parking lots, and cross multi-lane parkways with lights not timed with pedestrians in mind. You can walk, but I understand why nobody does. It just isn't pleasant.

So, no, I don't think it's as good as it gets. I think you can have development which is fundamentally suburban in character, mostly automobile-centric, but still much more pedestrian friendly. As Ryan Avent says:

If you build a lowish density neighborhood, separate the homes from the retail, and surround the retail by roads and parking lots, well, you’re not going to get walkers. If you try to make the development more like a small town, however, with residences over retail on the main strips, distributed retail throughout the neighborhood, and a fairly compact design, then you can get real walkability, to a certain extent, even with single-family homes and yards. And you can also follow the model in New England (and old England, actually) and drop that development onto a commuter rail line or transit connection, and then you’ve reduced driving still more, even as most or all residents of the neighborhood own and frequently use cars.

Instead of sidewalks+nearby strip malls, you need sidewalks+strips of "small town." The Main Line area of Philadelphia would be like this (and is a bit in places) if it had a bit more residential density near the main strip. Or, to be clear, it is like this except that it doesn't have enough residential density in enough places to make it consistently successful (plus a tendency to ruin a good thing by building more parking lots). Beach/resort towns are often like this, though their "residential density" often comes from hotel populations. I fled Irvine for Laguna Beach which, although not my idea of heaven, was at least genuinely a nice place to walk, and not simply because there's a beach there.

Cable News Hell

Please just make it all stop.

Don't Talk About The War

Instead talk about how the Cub Scouts are giving your children instruction about how to have sex.

Baby Steps

Some day it might occur to people like Joe Klein that for many years John McCain was a politician who devoted most of his time to... wooing people like Joe Klein. It was a tactic that worked very well for him, and otherwise tells us nothing about his character.

Wanker of the Day

Jonathan Weisman.

The McCain Campaign

Morning Thread

McCain still hiding behind Palin's skirt today?

Morning Thread

Today's phrase is "emotional child abuse".

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Rock on.

Deep Thought

Sorta Good News

I don't think slots parlors are an especially good idea for the city generally, but if they're going to come better to put them in a center city location next to the convention center on top of a mass transit hub.

Foxwoods Casino has agreed to work with state and city leaders to move its long-delayed slots parlor planned for the South Philadelphia waterfront to the Gallery at Market East, The Inquirer has learned.


Maddow Day 1

Beats Larry King.


Obama campaign:

It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.

I Think I Took The Brown Acid

I'm having this weird flashback where Michael Isikoff is on my teevee talking about troopergate.

Oh Dear

I see there's another hissy fit brewing over these comments by John McCain about Hillary Clinton.

McCain criticized Democratic contenders for offering what he called costly universal health care proposals that require too much government regulation. While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, he said it was "eerily reminiscent" of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s.

"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," he said of her proposal.

Evening Thread


Stupid Elitists

The dumber, more expensive, and less effective method is folksier so it's better.


So much for the awesome power of the Fannie/Freddie bailout.

Choices and Options

The purpose of posting up two neighborhood pictures wasn't to say "my neighborhood rulezz" and "this neighborhood suxxor." I don't actually believe that most people secretly want to live in Manhattan, or an urban neighborhood like mine, and would do so if they could afford to. I've long been quite convinced that a big reason that we have so much suburban development is that lots of people really like the suburbs. Good for them!

But I also think a lot of suburban development is just dumb, both internally and in how it sits in relationship to surrounding development. And while developers are to some extent just giving people what they want, what people want is dependent on their budgets and their menu of available options. Buying a house is also buying into a basket of local public services (including schools), and proximity to other things such as jobs. Developers, too, are responding to what's available; they don't build highways and SUPERTRAINS.

People like cars. People like suburbs. Suburban development is inevitably going to be automobile-centric, though urban development and redevelopment in places similar to where I live should not be. However, being automobile-centric and being designed in a way which almost entirely excludes the potential for other modes transportation are very different things. The car and the light rail can coexist. Sidewalks can run to areas with retail. One could even allow a corner store and a pub within a residential neighborhood! Maybe, just maybe, there can be small corridors of street level retail without giant parking lots, small town style. Places like this do exist, mostly but not just in older suburbs.

Perhaps my vision of suburban paradise is wrong and it isn't what people want. Then fine, you can have your highways, just build me some more damn SUPERTRAINS (subways and light rail/trolleys) in my area.

Policies Have Consequences

Apparently it's impolite to point that out.

Home Sweet Home

My 'hood (not my actual address of course).

The Way We Live

An Indiana subdivision.

Not all burbs are created equal - I chose this exurban development to highlight a somewhat extreme case - but quite a bit of development in recent years has roughly resembled this. I can't divine everything with 100% accuracy from this picture, but it appears to be in close proximity to highway or similar single major road, single road access to the development itself, no retail in walkable proximity, etc.

It's one way to live.

It's A Start

Peanuts, but hopefully a sign that priorities are evolving.

WASHINGTON -- Momentum is building in Congress to increase funding for public transportation as transit agencies struggle to accommodate increased demand from Americans seeking to escape high gas prices.

The Senate banking committee will hold a hearing Tuesday to examine how the government can strengthen mass-transit options as a way to reduce dependence on imported oil. Meanwhile, House and Senate leaders debating a new energy bill are considering a range of incentives and new funding for transit agencies.

Bye Joe

It's a start.

That's Not True


Look, every elected official in this country works under the system we
have, which is you try to get a little bit of your tax money back. You
just don't want to leave it all in Washington. The amazing thing about
Sarah Palin is when she became governor she actually stood up and said
no. And she made it -

BEGALA: That's not true.

CASTELLANOS: She took a strong stand. That is rare and that never

ROBERTS: All right.

BEGALA: That's just not true. You know, John, the facts matter.
There's lots of things that are debatable who is more qualified or
less experienced or more this or more passionate, whatever. It is a
fact that she campaigned and supported that bridge to nowhere. It is a
fact that she hired lobbyists to get earmarks. It is a fact that as
governor she lobbies for earmarks. Her state is essentially a welfare
state taking money from the federal government.

ROBERTS: We still have 56 days to talk about this back and forth.

BEGALA: This is the problem. We have this false debate when we ought
to have at least agreed upon facts.

And Castellanos isn't some campaign flunky, he's a guy that CNN pays to tell you things that aren't true. Still it would be absurd and pointless to debate whether CNN has some modest obligation to tell you things which are not false.

(ht ctblogger)

My Friends

That's some respect for copyright law and intellectual property you can believe in.

From The Right

Thinking about all of the issues surrounding MSNBC, I remembered something about the primary season. For both the Repuplicans and the Democrats, debate hosts tended to challenge them from the right. This was especially true in the Fox Republican primary debate, but it was largely true throughout.

And She Keeps Lying

Obama statement:

On the same day that dozens of news organizations have exposed Governor Palin's phony Bridge to Nowhere claim as a 'naked lie,' she and John McCain continue to repeat the claim in their stump speeches. Maybe tomorrow she'll tell us she sold it on eBay," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.

At this point even Republicans all know it's full of shit, but they don't care. It pisses off liberals! And that's really all they care about.

...up to 23.


Lehman may be the next to be buried by Big Shitpile.

Oh Well

Another miserable failure.

For 2008 fiscal year (which ends at the end of the month), the CBO forecast a $407 billion deficit, or about 2.9% of GDP. The deficit should rise to $438 billion in 2009 and $431 billion in 2010.


We can debate what obligations journalists should have, but they themselves spend lots of time meditating on the practices and obligations of their profession. Much of their own discussions about, say, whether it's appropriate for MSNBC to have liberals on or whether some particular story was "fair" or not is framed within this narrative of standards and obligations. That much of this discussion is often based on false assumptions or excludes important facts generally leads me to conclude that for all their talk of being dedicated to the truth, or whatever, when it comes to their own profession they're often quite full of shit.

And aside from whatever motivates journalists personally, there's also the issue of what motivates their editors, their publishes, and their parent companies. I know we all are supposed to maintain the polite fantasy that news divisions are somehow isolated from the business side - again, those professional obligations and standards! - but that, too, of course is bullshit. I don't know if what goes on at NBC is influenced more by Tom Brokaw's golfing buddies or GE's desire for government contracts, but it's long been obvious that there's more going on than a simple quest for ratings and advertising dollars at MSNBC.

More Demand

Let's hope a few more lawmakers do the long, hard, boring work necessary to start planning for the future.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's public transportation systems logged a 5.2 percent jump in ridership in the second quarter, according to industry figures to be released Tuesday, as record-high gas prices pushed people to take millions more trips on buses and rail systems.

Not True

The press does not create these narratives. Instead, they come from some guy in Iowa that David Broder has a chat with once every four years.

Uh, Bob?

Tell us what you really think.

Oh Noes

All not well in car sharing land.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Too Many Bad Loans

It isn't just WaMu's problem, it's the problem. And not one with a solution.

Late Night

Rock on.

Crazy Religious Beliefs

Nobody listens to atrios, but I've long been trying to point out that it's really a bad idea to make religious beliefs a staple of our political discourse. I don't give a shit what goes on inside Sarah Palin's church, and if we hadn't had years of POLITICS+RELIGION IS TEH AWESOME this wouldn't warrant any news coverage.

Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.

Most religious beliefs look "crazy" to outsiders, and suggestions that some are crazier than others are just a way of measuring how mainstream the religion is. What people want to do if they get in power matters, what they do on Sundays in their ideally private churches doesn't.

"It's Pat"

Boo for Rachel giving Pat Buchanan his 23rd hour of television per day. Yay for Rachel calling the segment "It's Pat."

"Economic Theory"

Uh, how about pressing high profile current events or, you know, the functioning of the political system you're tasked with covering?

“They’ve gotten too big and too expensive to taxpayers,” she said. “The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help.”

Ms. Palin’s statement went largely unnoticed by political reporters, who are often more schooled in political rhetoric than economic theory. But left-leaning blogs and others have picked it up and are portraying it as a gaffe, noting that Fannie and Freddie are not government entities but instead are private-sector companies.

Economic theory looks a bit like this. Having basic understanding of the ownership of Fannie and Freddie 18 months or so into this housing/credit crisis and after a weekend of front page coverage of them... requires reading the damn newspaper.

Maddow Mania

A liberal on the teevee? UNPOSSIBLE.

Dinner Thread


No Maverick

Finally going against Brand McCain.

The Maddow Decade

Turn in and watch Rachel's new show at 9 PM Eastern.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Except me, and you my dear readers.


President Bush is expected to keep U.S. troop levels in Iraq near their current level through the end of the year, then pull home up to 8,000 combat and support troops by mid-January, The Associated Press has learned.

Iraq's his binky.

The American People Aren't Stupid

I mostly like the line too, but the Obama campaign really has to make it a little stronger and make it clear that McCain and Palin are acting as if they think people are stupid.


18 and counting...

Deep Thought

Values update: Crowds and popularity are now good things.

Oh My

Jack keeps on giving.

Here's a clear sign that the Jack Abramoff investigation is still underway: Kevin Ring, a former Abramoff associate and former aide to both Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and John Ashcroft (when Ashcroft was a senator), has been indicted on corruption charges. Ring is the 11th public official to be charged in the investigation.


Lots of polls are taken. Some are inevitably going to be outliers one way or another. Some are going to be impacted by likely voter models and other weighting. Obviously they provide some information, but it's noisy. More than that, national polls really don't matter much.


Afternoon Thread


Facts Are Stupid Things

And shame on the Huffington Post for expecting candidates for the top offices in the country to have any awareness of them.

Speaking before voters in Colorado Springs, the Republican vice presidential nominee claimed that lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers." The companies, as McClatchy reported, "aren't taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization."


Peter Viles.

Things are getting worse. The Bush administration -- hardly a bunch of eager interventionists -- had no choice; it couldn't save these companies with jawboning and bluster about a bazooka full of cash; it had to take them over.

Since in office the government has bailed out the airlines, is about to bail out the auto industry, and is in the process of propping up the entire financial system. Not sure how much more intervening is left to be done.

How Does This Happen?

Ah, yes, the press, just a passive conduit for information.

If true, we wouldn't really need them.


A perceived lack of gratitude for his awesomeness has long been part of the narcissist-in-chief's worldview. But you'd think even someone with his dim grasp of reality would kinda get that it went something like:

Day 1: Yay! No more saddam!
Day 2: Rumsfeld: Freedom is untidy (uh, wuh?)


and that no matter how awesome day 1 was, days 2-present sorta, you know, sucked ass.

Your Liberal Media

Glennzilla takes on the latest nonsense.

I'll just add, for the hundredth time, that Keith Olbermann's expressed "liberalism" is almost entirely limited to a dislike and distrust of the Bush administration, a view shared by 70% of the public, and a concern for civil liberties and executive power abuse. On top of that he has a somewhat liberal "sensibility," but his show covers little of the broader "liberal agenda." But he makes Tom Brokaw uncomfortable so, you know.

Buck Passing

Consensus in this Blooomberg article seems to be that the Fannie/Freddie bailout just kicks the can down the road a bit, making it other peoples' responsibility. Pretty much the theme of the Bush years.

Credit Where Credit Is Due File


McCain used to be a real straight talker. On campaign finance, spending earmarks, Iraq and immigration, he has fought bravely for his principles; and that record might have been a trump against an opponent who has taken almost no such risks. But we are now witnessing what might be called McCain's Palinization. McCain once criticized Christian conservatives as agents of intolerance, but he has caved in to their intolerance of a pro-choice running mate. McCain claims to be devoted to his country, yet he would saddle it with a vice president who is unprepared to serve as commander in chief. In the same sad way, McCain has caved in to his party's anti-tax fanatics. The man of principle has become a panderer. The straight talker flip-flops.

...adding, I personally don't have opinions about Palin being "unprepared to serve as commander in chief." She certainly isn't my first choice for the job, but that's not the same as dismissing her ability to do the job.


The New York Times gave Eric Boehlert a headache.

Not Atrios

Deep Thought

Alan Keyes is making sense.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.


As numerous people will attest to, this blog even suckier than usual. What's a bit weird is that traffic has gone up a lot, though it didn't really go up until the RNC convention. Maybe it's just the magic of September 1st or something. In any case, for a long time I've been kind of glad that traffic has been a bit below 100K per day because that's the (arbitrary) boundary level above which things get a bit hard to handle. Gets a bit crazy much above that.

But it's my job. And I do it all for you, dear readers, who I love unconditionally.

And for those who think this blog is too serious and verbose, there's always twitter.

So Stupid

You, dear readers, understand the huge set of false assumptions and inconvenient facts left out of this article.

Your liberal media: no liberals allowed.

But Will It Survive?

WaMu chief out:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Washington Mutual Inc has ousted Kerry Killinger as its chief executive, and will replace him with Alan Fishman, who is now chairman of mortgage broker Meridian Capital Group, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Sunday.

Blue Screen

Courageous John McCain

So, if Obama will face O'Reilly, doesn't that make McCain a wuss if he won't go on Olberman? KO may want to start asking that question.


After all these years I still get surprised at the fact that every single bit of pointless right wing manufactured horseshit becomes part of our elite media conversation.

The Presidency

Saw Mithras out registering people to vote earlier. Apparently doing good business, getting lots of people who have recently moved. While chatting a man came up and discussed registering to vote, but seemed more interested in proudly trumpeting his Hamletesque indecision as a mark of principled independence or something. Apparently had Obama chosen Clinton, but, well, now he likes Palin...

Anyway, he was clearly a member of that segment of the population for whom politics is just another reality TV show, and his vote is simply about which of the candidates is his "favorite" and who will spend the next 4 years entertaining him as the star of The Presidency. Many Villagers are like this too, and they look forward to being extras in the show.

It's probably completely rational for many people to approach politics this way. They're in a class and at a point in life such that actual policies are unlikely to impact them directly very much. Add in a touch of narcissism and a lack of empathy, and the choice really does come down to who you want to see on the teevee.

It's David Broder's world. We just live in it.

Spying On Maliki

I'm not even sure what to make of the new information from Woodward about how nice we are to our good friend in Iraq. Thanks, oh wise men of Washington, for bringing us such a lovely little war. It really was such an awesome idea.


Barry has more details.

Fannie And Freddie Get Eated

Reading through what's been released I still don't really get a sense of the important details. "Who eats how much shit" is the big question and it isn't entirely clear.

Doesn't Care

Repeating debunked lies is something which pisses off liberals and pleases the base. It's a feature, not a bug.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Republican presidential nominee John McCain.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; Gov. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs; McCain economic adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer.

More Thread

Keep fighting.

--Molly I.


Yeah, yeah, the public hates negative campaigning. Right.

[Well, okay, what the public would like would be an honest discussion of the issues, but since we can't have that, the Republicans fill the vacuum with explanations of why Democrats are horrible, and the Democrats apparently think the good thing to do is jump in and explain that McCain is a great guy. Why would the public disbelieve negative attacks on Democrats when Joe Biden is here to tell you that they are coming from a great American hero?]

Not Atrios


Rock on.