Saturday, November 15, 2008

Late Night.

More thread.  But that doesn't mean that atrios won't show up in five minutes with more gypsy shit.

Saturday Night



Well, that's pretty awful. I lived next to the hill that got destroyed by the 1993 Laguna fire, though it was basically rebuilt by the time I got there. Every few months they'd send some goats out to eat up all the brush.

Evening Thread


Keeping Score

Highlighted this before, but on the teevee on Sunday we have:

7 Appearances by Republican current elected officeholders
3 Appearances by Democratic current elected officeholders.
2 Appearances by Republican former elected officeholders.
1 Appearance by a Bush Cabinet Secretary.
T. Boone Pickens
Ted Turner.

Afternoon Thread


Tiny Bit Of Truth

I don't think McCain lost because he wasn't conservative enough, but I do think the fact that he was all over the place on every issue didn't help him. He didn't need to be "more conservative" but "more consistent."


Heckuva job, NYT.

We're All Bank Holding Companies Now

FDIC now insuring gift cards.

New Blood

Like Booman, I was pleased that I wasn't familiar with a lot of names on Obama's transition team. My unfamiliarity doesn't necessarily tell me much about them, but I think a benefit of an Obama versus a Clinton administration is that there will at least be some new blood in town. Not saying everyone he hires or should hire will be Washington outsiders, but we'll at least see a reshuffling of the Washington deck a bit. I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty of former Clintonites in power, but they won't all be the same Clintonites we've been seeing all these years, if that makes sense.

It's About Time

I think the Dems probably should have moved a bit more quickly on that oversight board.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

Find your Join the Impact rally info here.

And for trifecta:

Friday, November 14, 2008


Rock on.

Late Night


Poor Tommy

Might have to start driving a cab soon.

Friday Night Thread



And we're at 2.

Deep Thought

We're all bank holding companies now.

Not Inevitable

No, the internet in its very open and public form was not inevitable. We're quite lucky, in fact. And with the net neutrality battle ongoing, its permanence isn't guaranteed either.

Any Given Sunday

I was about to do a post on this topic, the fact that the Sunday shows haven't been eager to change their guest balance.

Here's Media Matters' original report on Sunday show guests.

Wingnut Wars


ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: A conservative California congressman announced Friday that he's mounting a leadership challenge to House Minority Leader John Boehner, as the GOP continues to assess the fallout from last week’s election losses.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., becomes the first rank-and-file House member to announce his intent to challenge the top House Republican in next week’s leadership elections. The No. 2 and No. 3 House Republicans have said they’re stepping down from their posts, but Boehner is seeking another term as minority leader.

Speaking Out

I appreciate that newly minted Senators might be a bit reticent on the whole Lieberman situation, but kudos to Senator Leahy for acknowledging that Joe has been a very bad boy indeed.

Broke Consumers

The retail sales figures added to my pessimism about the economy. I expected a big consumer pullback in '03, but it never materialized. People have forgotten, but things seemed pretty bleak then. Unemployment was hovering around 6% - not super high, but worrying - and I figured that consumers pulling back would break the back of the economy. Consumers didn't do that, presumably because they were happily using their homes as ATMs, and the economy rebounded, if a bit anemically, propelled by the housing boom.

Cabinet Speculation

Most of it is even more useless than campaign horse race journalism. If they must do it they could at least provide more useful information about the people they're speculating about, but instead it's all just a soap opera.

At Least The War Is Over


Like That Will Happen

Lieberman is smug sanctimony in human form. Apologizing isn't something he does.


I think there's a place in our political discourse for hacks, though it isn't entirely clear that newspapers should grant them additional authority by giving them space on their opinion pages. I mean, newspapers can do whatever they want, but it tends to go against their generally professed norms.

Retail Sales Collapse

It's really quite stunning, and it's hard to see how it gets better soon.

I'm pessimistic because I worry that with Bush in office nothing sensible can be done quickly enough, and side debates about the auto companies provide a distraction (it may be an important debate, but it isn't central to the question of immediate stimulus). Last Spring we did the shitty stimulus of giving people a few bucks, which unsurprisingly didn't cause the pony to appear. We need extension of unemployment benefits, food stamp increases, SUPERTRAIN and other infrastructure expenditures, and of course aid for state and local governments. And it's needed, you know, yesterday.


Chatting With The Jury

This gang just continues to redefine corruption.

I'm A Bit Less Optimistic


The economic news, in case you haven’t noticed, keeps getting worse. Bad as it is, however, I don’t expect another Great Depression. In fact, we probably won’t see the unemployment rate match its post-Depression peak of 10.7 percent, reached in 1982 (although I wish I was sure about that).

I'm actually more worried than I was. Appropriate federal intervention - not bailing out Hank's buddies - is necessary and hasn't been forthcoming. State and local governments are going to be cutting budgets and laying off people without help.

Morning Thread

Have some tea.

No Music Extra Overnight Thread

Rock on

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

To Broadway

Frank Bruni, who covered Gore in 2000, later became a restaurant critic. And their '08 Obama campaign reporter is becoming a theater critic.

I think people who are good (if they are good) at this type of thing have genuine talent, but I just don't think editors should see campaign journalism as theater/food criticism. Good critics of this type can be good at explaining certain types of things, but those types of things really aren't what should be the central elements of political reporting. A small part of it, sure, but not the primary part.

Thursday Night Thread

Where everybody knows your name.

No Auto Bailout For You

Dodd sez it isn't going to happen in this Congress for the auto makers.

While I have mixed feelings about such a thing generally, it's pretty interesting that we're propping up the fake economy and letting the real economy wither.


EPA sez coal plants must have CO2 emissions regulated.

My Life

It occurs to me the last time I saw a movie in a theater was when Batman came out. Netflix tells me the last time I returned a DVD was around 9/23.

Anything worth watching?

Happy Hour Thread


Facts Are Stupid Things

And generally the media prefer ones that are made up by Republicans.


Yet another exciting day at the dog track.

Fortunately, Not A Big Deal Anymore

I'm so old I can remember when Camille Paglia's peculiar form of wingnuttery actually seeped its way into the broader discourse. Fortunately it really isn't the case anymore. Keep smacking your readers in the face, Salon.

All Palin All The Time

When I first turned on the teevee this morning, there she was, talking to me. I could understand the media fascination with her a bit more if there weren't numerous other shiny soccer balls they could be chasing.

The Column Little Tommy Friedman Should Write

Or, at least, read.

But to have been so completely and fundamentally wrong about so huge a disaster as what we have done to Iraq — and ourselves — is outrageous enough to prove that people like me have no business posing as wise men, and, more importantly, that The New York Times has no business continuing to provide me with a national platform.

In any case, I have made a decision: as of today, I will no longer write in this or any other newspaper. I will immediately desist from writing any more books about how it’s time for everyone to climb on board the globalization high-speed monorail to the future. I will keep my opinions to myself. (My wife suggested that I try not to even form opinions, but I think she might have another agenda.)

Afternoon Thread


Doing Everything Wrong

I think it's important to keep in mind the fact that this looming economic disaster was preventable. The Wise Old Men of Washington and Wall Street have fucked everything up due to a combination of greed and and adherence to ideology regardless of what the facts are. There were many moments in the past few years when something could have been done to at least minimize the problems, and at every step they've done the wrong thing.

Nobody could have predicted...

It's gonna get weird out there.

High And Low

This is a decent article about the Italian Market, which is in my neighborhood. Struggle is to keep it thriving while still maintaining a mix of both upmarket and downmarket offerings.

Decent photo gallery.

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Holy crap:

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to 516,000, the highest level since the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.


Continuing claims reached 3.897 million for the week ended Nov. 1, the latest period for which the data was available, which was an increase from 3.832 million the prior week and marked the most people filing for ongoing unemployment assistance in a quarter of a century. Continuing claims were 3.95 million in the week ended Jan. 15, 1983.

Not Applying For An Obama Administration Job

Reasons fairly obvious:
A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever. The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps. Only the smallest details are excluded; traffic tickets carrying fines of less than $50 need not be reported, the application says. Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun. They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages.

Costume And Lair

I don't wear pajamas, though admit that despite having an office I often work in the basement because that's where the big screen teevee is. And I luv me some big screen Chris Matthews.

Morning Thread

Tequila shots at the bar.


Why doesn't the right-wing care that a crazy messianic foreigner has poured billions of dollars into destroying America?

I guess if they didn't hear it on Fox, they don't know....

Not Atrios


Rock on.


Begich up by 814 in latest tally.

B to the K

I don't know for sure that just letting GM filing for bankruptcy is the best route, but if it isn't then it just means there's something wrong with our bankruptcy laws and/or our dealings with "too big to fail" companies.

But not everyone agrees that a Chapter 11 filing by G.M. would be the disaster that many fear. Some experts note that while bankruptcy would be painful, it may be preferable to a government bailout that may only delay, at considerable cost, the wrenching but necessary steps G.M. needs to take to become a stronger, leaner company.

Although G.M.’s labor contracts would be at risk of termination in a bankruptcy, setting up a potential confrontation with its unions, the company says its pension obligations are largely financed for its 479,000 retirees and their spouses.

The system needs to have standard ways of dealing with these things. If the ones in place don't work, we need new ones, not free money for failures.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leave Sarah Palin ALONE

You people talk too much. 

More Thread

All blogged out.

Dinner Thread

What are you eating?

...Begich up by 3.

Happy Hour Thread

Seems like a slow day.


Another exciting day at the dog track. No worries, though, because Wolf Blitzer's going to interview Sarah Palin.

And GE

We're all banks now.

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. said the U.S. government agreed to insure as much as $139 billion in debt for lending arm GE Capital Corp., the second time in a month it has turned to a federal program designed to help companies during a global credit crunch.

Granting GE Capital, which isn’t a bank, access to a new Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. program may reassure investors and help the unit compete with banks that already have government protection behind their debt, said Russell Wilkerson, a spokesman for the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company. Coverage would be for about $139 billion, or 125 percent of total senior unsecured debt outstanding as of Sept. 30 and maturing by June 30.

Deep Thought

How's that bailout working out?

Afternoon Thread



Over there.

An Iraqi soldier has shot dead four U.S. soldiers and wounded three others while out on patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

An Interior Ministry source told ABC News, on condition of anonymity, that an argument broke out between the Iraqi soldier, Barazen Mohammed, and an American colleague while they were on a joint patrol in western Mosul.

Confidence Building

Shorter Hank Paulson:

We are making this up as we go along.

That's Why Democrats Keep Losing Elections

Of course they don't, but I think one thing missing from this conversation is that a lot of people on "our side" have been invested in this idea for awhile. Losing means failure, and failure is an opportunity to try to push the party in whatever direction you imagine it should be pushed. I was in a couple of meetings in Washington with various groups of people after the 2006 election where variations of that phrase kept popping out of peoples' mouths like a habitual tic, even though the Democrats had just, you know, won.


Hank Paulson is on my teevee bragging about just how fast he funneled taxpayer money to financial institutions.

Wanker of the Day

Michael Barone.

Early Morning

Coffee and Bloody Marys available at the bar.

Eschaton After Dark

Rock even harder.


Rock on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sorta Weird

I'd actually forgotten that the CT Supremos made a ruling mandating the option of same sex marriage.

As stupid and horrible as it is that this is even an issue, I admit we've gone a bit farther a bit faster than I expected. Proph H8 is a setback, but one way or another it'll be overturned fairly soon.

Protecting the Children

They must be protected from potty mouth Joe.

Even More Thread

Done drinking liberally.

Evening Thread

Out drinking liberally.

Happy Hour Thread

Five o'clock.


If, say, a left of center magazine or some other Washington institution wanted to engage in a bit of class-based affirmative action, I have a fairly simple suggestion. Just make sure you reach out beyond elite schools. I've attended and taught at a variety of institutions, and some excellent students can be found most places. And while I don't know the hiring practices of random left of center magazines, or for Congressional staffs, or for the Washington Post, it wouldn't surprise me if first round resume weeding is frequently done based on the college the applicants attended.

Afternoon Thread



Sarah Palin is still getting more press attention than Joe the Biden, and he's going to be Vice President and she's not.

Parking Meters

Good plan to raise parking meter rates in Center City Philadelphia. At $1/hr they're absurdly low. Though I think raising the fine parking at an expired meter to $56 is a bit excessively punitive. Somehow misread $35 as $56. Simels regrets the error.

How Many Seats?

There is a weird underplaying of the degree of Democratic victory this time. Sure, they didn't win quite as many seats as some pollsters and pundits predicted, but even at the height of the Great And Glorious Republican Revolution, back when Democrats were doomed to irrelevancy for generations, they maxed out at just 232 House seats. Dems have about 256 at the moment, with a couple of races not yet decided.

Most Hilarious Campaign Moment

I think I was blocking most of it out in real time due to the horror of it all, but I'm starting to recover some of the memories.

Perhaps when McCain met Levi?

If Only They'd Done This A Year Ago

Any plan to reduce mortgage interest rates/principals for people struggling pay them is somewhat problematic, as it does provide an incentive for people to get behind so they can get a better deal. Still, the reason to do it is that foreclosures are costly for both parties, they inflict large negative externalities on neighborhoods, and many homes are underwater so those who own the mortgages wouldn't be able to get more money back on foreclosure sales anyway. This way, maybe people get to stay in their homes and Freddie and Fannie have a chance to get their money without going through costly foreclosure proceedings/sales.


To clarify, I didn't mean to suggest that one should never ever have a political discussion with someone who disagrees with you. The context is blogs and political discourse and the contemporary conservative movement, whatever the hell that is.

Not Just The War

And not just that he campaigned for McCain and supported Republican senators.

Joe's bad for a lot of reasons.

Shorter Robert Toll

Reinflate the bubble!

Wingnuttery's Latest Obsession

Is the Fairness Doctrine. I know there are some on the left who support it. I don't for various reasons. But Obama doesn't support it. There's no serious movement in Congress to reinstate it. It isn't part of the current list of priorities of the Vast Left Conspiracy. But wingnuts will obsess, because they're very silly people. Actually, some obsess about it because they're very stupid people. And some obsess about it because they think it's political useful to do so even though they know it's bullshit. Not worth my time trying to distinguish between the groups.

Shorter Atrios And Thers

Well, maybe not shorter, but since I guess there might be a bit of confusion let me clarify. One cannot ignore wingnuttery, but we long ago realized that there is no reason to engage it seriously. That's why we mock it and treat it with the contempt it deserves. This was true a week ago, and it's still true today. I don't know why smart people felt like they should engage with it seriously a week ago, but nor should those same people feel like they can just ignore it now.

Often one has to engage with specific bits of horseshit that bubble up into the mainstream to correct errors of fact and logic, but wingnuts? Just point and laugh. They weren't trying to have a "serious good faith debate" last week, and they aren't this week. But they're still there.

The End of Wingnuttery

Echoing Thers, no it doesn't stop. Politics isn't an academic panel. "Debate" is a game, not a way to achieve anything.

Easy Solution

Just turn yourself into a bank holding company!

56, 57, 58...

The Minnesota Senate race is now in the lawyers, guns and money phase. You can help, if you're so inclined, with the money part of it



Monday, November 10, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

More Thread


And Amex

I'll send in my application for Eschaton World Industries to be classified as a bank holding company tomorrow.

Evening Thread



We will all agree to forget that the press pretty much fell asleep after Bush was first elected.

Changing The Subject

Since the Lewinsky scandal broke, and to a lesser degree since the start of the Gingrich era, the Republicans have basically been able to set the terms of the debate and pick the conversation of the day, except when actual events overwhelm them. They don't always win the debate, but they always have been able to decide what cable news and similar should talk about on any given day.

We'll see if that changes at all now.

His Way

I find myself to be really not in the mood to nitpick every move and personnel decision Obama makes. Ultimately the policies and results matter, not the aesthetics of every move and nature of every hire.

I'm not saying that those things are of no importance, but I've been rolling my eyes at all the "WHAT OBAMA NEEDS TO DO" editorials and discussions on the teevee. Sometimes I roll my eyes over the substance ("govern from the center!"), but often I'm rolling my eyes over the fact that they're doing it at all.

Not saying this is a criticism-free zone, just that there's still a bit of time before the guy actually starts doing stuff.

Absurd View

It is a lie that California clergy could be jailed for not performing same sex wedding ceremonies, but it's a lie that many Liars for Christ were telling the people in their churches.

Who's Next?

Dean stepping down as DNC Chair.

--Molly I.

Afternoon Thread


Town Destroying

That's quite a big deal.

(CNN) -- A southern Ohio community is bracing for possible layoffs as DHL Express -- the largest employer in the area -- planned to announce its quarterly earnings report and restructuring details.

DHL's parent company, German-based Deutsche Post World Net, will announce plans for its U.S. operations to investors Monday, said spokesman Jonathan Baker. He did not respond to published reports that Deutsche Post has ordered roughly 8,000 layoffs at DHL's Wilmington hub.

Population of Wilmington isn't much more than that.

GOP 2012

Mittens! Rudy! Palin! Huck! Newt!

It's gonna be so fun.

People Swear

As someone frequently criticized for being a foul-mouthed blogger, I've long been amused by the faux public "manners" of our Village elite. I don't spend much time in DC, but people there... swear. I've had senators who I just met swear in front of me. House members too. Journalists also. This is perfectly normal, it goes on all the time, and the members of Joe Scarborough's Morning Zoo are perfectly aware of it.


Matt's right that relatively inexpensive marginal improvements to a bus system which encourage greater ridership are worth focusing on. Too much of the transit focus in this country has been on mass transit as substitute for automobile commute rather than as a general way of getting around. Commuters are regular users who understand the route that they use. But a system which car free people use to get around generally would be greatly enhanced by better information.

Our local transit authority does very strange things. In the busiest part of the downtown area, bus shelters do actually have some maps and route/frequency information. But the maps are screwy. If you're facing North, the maps have North on top as maps normally do. If you're facing South, the maps have South on top. I'm sure some genius thought this was very clever, but for normal people it's very disorienting.


And a crappy retailer files.

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy amid rising competition from Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and online electronics retailers.

The petition for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia, listed $3.4 billion in assets and $2.32 billion in liabilities. The company said it is entering court protection owing Hewlett-Packard Co. $119 million and Samsung Electronics Co. $116 million.


The Bush legacy is still with us.

BAGHDAD — Three explosions in a northern Baghdad neighborhood killed 28 people early Monday morning, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

The death toll offered by the Interior Ministry makes the incident the deadliest in Baghdad since June 17, when a car bombing killed 51.


Joe has a pottymouth.


I've had a hard time thinking about just what a president Obama might do with the campaign web operation. It is a paradigm changing thing, potentially.

CHICAGO -- Armed with millions of e-mail addresses and a political operation that harnessed the Internet like no campaign before it, Barack Obama will enter the White House with the opportunity to create the first truly "wired" presidency.

Obama aides and allies are preparing a major expansion of the White House communications operation, enabling them to reach out directly to the supporters they have collected over 21 months without having to go through the mainstream media.

Morning thread

BooMan says, "I'd Treat DC as a Crime Scene." Well, only the parts on the postcards.

Not Atrios



Sunday, November 09, 2008

Double Down


The Bush administration was overhauling its rescue of the American International Group on Sunday night, according to people involved in the transaction, amid signs that the interest on its initial credit line of more than $100 billion was putting too much strain on the ailing insurance giant.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve were near a deal to invest another $40 billion into the company, these people said, as part of a huge restructuring of A.I.G.’s debt. The government made an $85 billion emergency line of credit available in September to keep it from toppling and added $38 billion in early October when it became clear that the original amount was not enough.

The restructuring of the deal, which may be announced as early as Monday morning, is just one sign of the intense debate in Washington over how and when the government should be bailing out private companies. The money would come from the $700 billion that Congress authorized the Treasury to use to shore up financial companies. Just this weekend, Democratic leaders in Congress called on the Bush administration to use some of that money to rescue Detroit automakers.

When the restructured deal is complete, taxpayers will have invested and lent a total of $150 billion to A.I.G., the most the government has ever directed to a single private enterprise. It is a stark reversal of the government’s assurance that its previous moves had stemmed the bleeding at A.I.G.

Evening Thread

Four Years Of This

The problem with Style section coverage of politics isn't that it exists at all (though I'm somewhat puzzled by it), it's that it tends to bleed over into the rest of the coverage.

Evening Thread


Uh, Wuh?

Weirder than I thought.

"Obama!" Bush exclaimed, according to Obama's account of the meeting in his second memoir, "The Audacity of Hope." "Come here and meet Laura. Laura, you remember Obama. We saw him on TV during election night. Beautiful family. And that wife of yours -- that's one impressive lady."

The two men shook hands and then, according to Obama, Bush turned to an aide, "who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand."

Bush then offered some to Obama, who recalled: "Not wanting to seem unhygienic, I took a squirt."

More Thread

Adrian Peterson, yes he can.

Afternoon Thread

Light blogging today because, YES I CAN.

Change We Can Believe In

One thing our press does a bad job of communicating generally is the power the president can wield with executive orders. Obama can do a lot. Yes he can!

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chief of staff to President-elect Obama.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Emanuel.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Valerie Jarrett, adviser in Obama's transition team; Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Obama transition chief transition chief John Podesta; Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.; Tony Blair, Middle East envoy.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Podesta; Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Eric Cantor, R-Va.


I suppose they're on now.


Doing this usually precipitates a bobblehead thread, so, in the meantime, have some beauty.

Not Atrios


Pecan waffles?  Eggs Florentine?  Grits?  


Go to sleep.