Saturday, December 06, 2008

More Thread

Dinner Thread

Busy. Talk amongst yourselves. Or go out and play!

Happy Hour Thread


Bye Bye Health Insurance

McCain's people were right that the employer-based health insurance system is dumb, though their alternative "good luck buying insurance" plan was not an improvement. But, yes, as people lose their jobs they also lose their health insurance.

Lucky duckies!

The Bush Break Never Happened...And Still Hasn't

I know I'm just a humble blogger, but while many pundits a year or so ago were predicting that the Republicans would have a loud and nasty divorce, I knew they were all wrong. The organizing principle of the Republican party and movement conservatism over the past 8 years, other than pissing off liberals, was rallying in support of and defending whatever the hell George Bush was doing that week. Going forward, they just don't know else to do. Such habits die hard.

Afternoon Thread


What People Want

People don't want street level townhouses without garages everywhere, of course, but many do want them over the alternative in densely populated areas because they allow for nice walkable urban neighborhoods. Of course some people want to have it both ways - a nice house with a big yard and a private parking spot in a nice walkable urban neighborhood - but if everyone has that then you don't have the nice walkable urban neighborhood.

You don't have to have quite the density as the linked picture on the left suggests, but you do have to not have car-centric zoning rules.

...adding, I'm specifically talking about dense urban neighborhoods. You can build sensible less dense neighborhoods, too, with yards and driveways which are still built with walkable access to retail, mass transit, etc. Lower population density won't be able to support as much of a variety of retail as a dense urban neighborhood, but not everyone wants to live in a dense urban neighborhood. Tradeoffs!

Everybody Loves Bush

Because 28% approval rating is HUGE.

"Modern Streetcars"

A 21st century invention!

Modern streetcars are different from San Francisco's cable cars, which pull cars up steep hills by grabbing underground cables. Instead, streetcars use overhead electric wires and run on tracks that aren't buried as deeply as those needed for light-rail lines.

Strength Through Weakness

Surrender! Surrender!

WASHINGTON — Faced with staggering new unemployment figures, Democratic Congressional leaders said on Friday that they were ready to provide a short-term rescue plan for American automakers, and that they expected to hold a vote on the legislation in a special session next week.

Seeking to end a weeks-long stalemate between the Bush administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senior Congressional aides said that the money would most likely come from $25 billion in federally subsidized loans intended for developing fuel-efficient cars.

By breaking that impasse, the lawmakers could also clear the way for the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., to request the remaining $350 billion of the financial industry bailout fund knowing he will not get bogged down in a fight over aiding Detroit.

Democrats are hoping Mr. Paulson will use some of that money to help individual homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Ah, powered by hope.


Financial Crisis: The Musical

Not Atrios

Friday, December 05, 2008

More Thread

Until something better comes along.

Evening Thread


First Georgia Community Bank, Jackson, GA gets eated by the FDIC.


If you're weird like me and you enjoy reading hilarious newspaper comment threads, the one after this article is great.

Deep Thought

The loss of over half a million jobs is excellent news for the economy.


Robert Toll wants to reinflate the bubble.

Home builder Toll Bros. Inc. coupled its fourth-quarter earnings announcement yesterday with a plea for federal action to push fixed-rate mortgages down to a buyer-stimulating 4.5 percent.

For the quarter ended Oct. 31, the Horsham builder of luxury homes said its losses totaled $78.8 million, or 49 cents a share, including $175.9 million worth of pretax write-downs - a bit better than the year-earlier loss of $81.8 million, or 52 cents a share, on $314.9 million in write-downs.

Burning Down The House

Like most people I have mixed feelings about an auto bailout. Doing something isn't necessarily better than doing nothing even if "nothing" leads to catastrophe. "Something" can lead to catastrophe+! Or, at least, catastrophe+$35 billion down the toilet. But I've long though that Bush was the type of person who who would pour a can of gasoline and flick a match at it on his last walk out of the White House. Or, similarly, just destroy the country.

Not his problem anymore.

The Schools

I don't know much about the Philadelphia public school system aside from the vague knowledge that some of the schools in the system are really awful, and a few are pretty good, and whether you get to go to a good one depends mostly on geography when you're younger and depends on achievement when you're older. There are some charter schools in there too which mess that up a bit.

At least one school made US News & World Report happy, which is notable even though all right thinking people such rankings should be ignored.

They're number 66!

Philadelphia's prestigious Masterman High again made the list of top American high schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Reports. The magazine looked at state test scores, paying special attention to scores of minority- and low-income students. It also counted college readiness, as judged by Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data.

Absurd Moments In Cable Business News

CNBC had a reporter who kept trying to explain that the mortgage numbers really sucked. The anchor kept butting in with incorrect numbers. She kept correcting him. Then he ended the segment by making fun of her. She just stood their shaking her head as the segment ended (she was at a different location).

A Liberal!

CNBC tells me that Jared Bernstein will be Biden's chief economist. Didn't know he'd need one, but good choice!

I Could Have A New Neighbor!

Though, fortunately, my neighborhood is probably too low rent for this blue collar boy.

IS CABLE-TV host Chris Matthews running for a Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat in 2010?

A prominent Democrat tells Clout that Matthews has picked out a house in Center City to establish state residency. Matthews himself says he's "90 percent" committed to running for the seat, now held by Arlen Specter, according to the source.

Just go away.

I Know You'll Be Shocked To Hear This

But Larry Kudlow's cunning plan to end recession is...

wait for it...

tax cuts!

...specifically the corporate tax rate!

Wanker of the Day

Stuart Taylor.

More Numbers

Just on CNBC: "Just under 10% of all mortgages are delinquent or in foreclosure..."

Neutron Bomb

533K jobs lost in November. Unemployment up to 6.7%.

...even worse. October numbers revised downwards to -320K down from -240K. September numbers revised downwards to -403K from -159K.


Nobody Could Have Predicted

That taxpayers would eat big shitpile.
Stock intended to eventually earn taxpayers a profit as part of the Bush administration's massive bank bailout has lost a third of its value — about $9 billion — in barely one month, according to an Associated Press analysis. Shares in virtually every bank that received federal money have remained below the prices the government negotiated.

Exit Interviews

On Wednesday,  Jon Stewart talked about interviewers tiptoeing around Bush's epic fail, trying to "delicately assess whether this president realizes just how badly he has fucked this thing up."

Hard to say something like this:

"By pretty much any measure, from polls to surveys of historians to editorial page opinion to measurable economic performance, your presidency has been the least successful in the postwar period, and perhaps since Reconstruction.  How did this happen?"

I guess.


Rock on.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Residual Monarchy

Who knew?

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a rare suspension of Parliament on Thursday, managing to avoid being ousted by opposition parties angry over the minority Conservative government's economic plans and an attempt to cut off party financing.

Governor General Michaelle Jean -- the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state -- agreed to Harper's request to shut down Parliament until Jan 26. Parliament was reconvened just weeks ago after the October 14 election.

Harper's request for suspension was unprecedented. No prime minister had asked for Parliament to be suspended to avoid a confidence vote in the House of Commons.

Not that the powers exist, but that the head of government would ask that they be used. Exciting!!


That's actually quite a lot.

Dinner Thread


Your Liberal Media

I'm currently watching Wolf Blitzer talk to Gloria Borger, Dana Milbank, and Stephen Hayes. You see, Blitzer, Borger, and Milbank are extraordinarily liberal, and they're only balanced by one conservative. Damn liberal media!

Parking Sucks

Good to see that some are thinking about creative ways to reduce the need for parking at new development.

And reducing automobile dependency saves people a lot of money. Make up your own number of insurance+car payment+gas+maintenance/year. Whatever that number is, you can buy a lot of subway and taxi rides. Many more than you're likely to.

Yes, I know, many of you don't live in areas where this is possible. The link is talking about an area where it is.

Wanker of the Day

Rick Warren.


When people talk about infrastructure projects, they're generally thinking of big things like bridge repair and new SUPERTRAINS. Some such projects sit around in the file just waiting for the money to show up and this could get up and running pretty quickly. A bunch of other infrastructure projects are probably good ideas on the merits, could use some federal money, but are unlikely to really be able to get off the ground fast enough to really be a quality short run stimulus. But there's another category of stuff, low level things like street and sidewalk repair, demolition of abandoned buildings, etc... that there's pretty much an infinite demand for. They're the types of things you can defer for a long time, so local authorities do, but they're still worthwhile projects. More than that, they don't really take a lot of advance planning and studies, or have long approval processes. And these types of things are handled at the local level. Some money to state&local governments would of course be used to maintain staffing and service levels, but other money could be used for road repair, etc. Not as sexy as SUPERTRAINS, and not as important as bridge repair, but necessary, important enough, it can happen fast, and happens at the local level.


Indeed all it takes is for Congress to pass a law and Dems get two new senators. One wonders if the joy of guaranteeing 2 more Dem senators forever would be offset for some senators by a rebalancing of the power of urban/rural interests.

In any case, maybe that's the thing 60 votes would get us.


And only for about the cost of 2 weeks in Iraq.

Federal regulators have approved a long-awaited extension of Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, virtually assuring construction of a $5.2 billion project that regional leaders say is crucial to ease congestion and spur economic growth in Northern Virginia.

By signing off on the project, the Federal Transit Administration reversed its position of almost a year ago, when its regulators declared Dulles rail unqualified to receive $900 million in federal funding, citing cost overruns, delays and concerns about management. The project now heads to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the Office of Management and Budget for final approval. But the transit agency's action is widely viewed as a critical achievement that essentially guarantees the federal funding. Without it, the project would have died, state and regional officials said.

Silly BooMan

The Muslim capital will be Washington, D.C. We elected Obama and we're now a Muslim nation!

Lunch Thread


Facts Are Stupid Things

And CNN doesn't want you to have them.


The shrill one is pessimistic. I am, too, but there's at least one thing the Feds can do right away which will have an immediate effect and that's transfer large amounts of money to state and local governments, and transit agencies, which are in the process of cutting their budgets. It won't prevent recession, but it will prevent those cuts from make the recession worse.

Donohue's War On Catalonia

We own a couple caganer figurines. Lighten up any holiday party.

That's Not Tweeting We Can Believe in

Tweeter closes.

Tweeter, a national electronics chain that entered the Philadelphia market in 1996 by buying high-end rival Bryn Mawr Stereo, abruptly converted its bankruptcy case to Chapter 7 liquidation Tuesday. It then closed its 70 stores and fired more than 600 employees.

The chain had been set to shut its doors for good this weekend.

Employees said they were still owed vacation time, at least one week's pay, and bonuses that were promised as part of the liquidation sale. They also said customers were not able to pick up merchandise they had already purchased.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

509K new lucky duckies!

AT&T will cut 12,000 jobs.

Factory orders down 5.1%.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

Flipping channels last night, saw on the FoxNews chyron that Gallup says 78% of Americans approve of Obama's cabinet picks.


The Greatest Video Ever Made

Most of you will disagree, but you are all wrong.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Somebody Killed The YouTubes

Otherwise I'd insert awesome music video here which you would love immensely.

More Thread

Out stimulating the local economy.

Evening Thread



I don't think everybody wants to move to Manhattan, but I have long believed that there was a shortage of good walkable communities based on the simple fact that such places, where they exist, tend to be very expensive. You know, nobody wants to live there it's too expensive!

...adding, big problem is that it's easier to create such communities by reshaping older suburbs around existing transit lines. The problem is that current residents of those places don't want them to be reshaped. That leaves gentrifying areas of urban blight, which is not without its problems including the fact that if you price poor mass transit-dependent people out of areas with mass transit, then what options do they have?


Oh boy. A cunning plan to reinflate the bubble.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

That the Crawford "ranch" was just a campaign prop.

First Lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush are moving back to Dallas when the president’s term expires in January, the Associated Press is reporting.

The AP says the first lady’s press secretary confirmed Wednesday that the couple are purchasing a home in Dallas.

Why Not Him?

Franken says he's ahead.

Afternoon Thread


Cleaning House

Wise move.

The incoming Obama administration has notified all politically-appointed ambassadors that they must vacate their posts as of Jan. 20, the day President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office, a State Department official said.


Political ambassadors sometimes are permitted to stay on briefly during a new administration, but the sweeping nature of the directive suggests that Obama has little interest in retaining any of Bush's ambassadorial appointees.


The ADP report comes out a couple of days before the official BLS one, and is designed to predict what the Feds will say. ADP says 250,000 jobs lost in Nov. I'll go with the over bet, as usual.


It's truly been a glorious liberation.

BAGHDAD — About 1,000 Asian men who were hired by a Kuwaiti subcontractor to the U.S. military have been confined for as long as three months in windowless warehouses near the Baghdad airport without money or a place to work.


A couple of weeks ago I was in a coffee shop listening to a group of late 40sish women chat. From their conversation, look, and general demeanor I'd guess they were all relatively well off stay at home moms, though of course I can't be sure of that. Their conversation turned to automobiles, and every one of them was talking about how they couldn't wait for the lease on their Mercedes (and similar) to be up so they could get a less expensive car.

From this we can conclude that aliens are conducting intergalactic war.


Ah, yes, Master Paulson is busy debating whether or not to steal the rest of the money.


Billions and Billions

It's a rather obvious point which has already been made dozens of times, but when you look at all of the money our government has blown in the last several years, from Our Glorious Iraqi Adventure to bailing out every financial institution, and you start to think of how that money could have been used more productively, it gets a wee bit frustrating.

I know Very Serious People tell me that the $700 billion bailout won't really cost $700 billion because we'll get most of it back. Hah!

Creepy Cosmic Thought

Do Brookings and CFR exist to provide employment for the stupidest of our citizens?

Good morning!

The sun is shining here in London, and I'm in the mood for a nice musicial interlude.

Not Atrios

Late Night

Rock on.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Deep Thought

Nobody could've predicted that the Republicans would win a Senate seat in Georgia.

Young Pup

David Gregory is 38.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Karl Rove edition.

Even More Thread

I'm off drinking liberally.

Happy Hour Thread


Tabloid Journalism

Apparently anything in British tabloids is now assumed to be true.

Fair enough.

Afternoon Thread


And What About The Joe Scarborough Route?

I really don't understand the media rules about actually giving an opinion especially when they only seem to apply when the media figure expresses something favorable about Democrats. Chris Matthews has expressed his opinion on his show for years. He's never been there as a traditional false balance anchor. Even aside from the general stupidity of the rule requiring that journalists shut off their brains and pretend they have no opinions about anything, no one seems to care when they express their love for Republicans.

Vice President For SUPERTRAIN

Ezra writes:

Meanwhile, Joe Biden didn't come to support rail through an abstract interest in urban policy. Rather, his first wife died young, and he needed to be around for his kids, and so he rode the train a lot. President-elect Obama, similarly, has lived in Chicago and New York, and so has some visceral experience with the utility of pubic transit. He's not shown any particular interest or leadership on the issue, but his lived experience suggests he'll have the urbaner's traditional sympathy for transit. That wasn't true for Clinton, in Arkansas, or Gore, in Tennessee, or Bush, in Texas, or Cheney, in Wyoming. And though it would be odd if transit policy was decisively transformed because the Senator from Delaware took the train a lot, and the president had lived in Chicago and so was favorably disposed towards trains, and these feelings intersected with a moment of tremendous infrastructure and acute concern over vehicle emissions, weirder things have happened.

Aside from the fact that this may lead to more administration support for rail projects, it'll hopefully lead to support for smarter rail projects. So many people in this country have literally zero experience with mass transit, and some of these people are in positions of authority deciding to build systems. Even if they support them, the lack of personal experience often means they don't even quite understand what they support, or what a quality system would look like. They can't conceive of a truly awesome SUPERTRAIN because they don't really know what it'd be like.

I recognize Joe Biden won't be personally overseeing all the transit projects in the country, but to the extent that he's involved at all in this stuff hopefully some of his personal experience rubs off a bit on the people who are/will be.

So Absurd

I've admitted that the thought of a Clinton presidency horrified me because of the way the press feels they can pretty much say anything about the Clintons.

War: The Video Game

This Sanger article about what the transition people have found is quite interesting. Apparently Bush spends his days watching the war on the teevee.

It’s not clear what they expected; perhaps after all those jokes on Letterman and Leno, they thought Mr. Bush spent the heart of his day on the stationary bicycle. Instead, they have been surprised to see the degree of tactical detail about two wars and a handful of insurgencies — from the tribal areas of Pakistan to Sudan and the Congo — that surrounds him. Partly this is because the high-tech makeover of the Situation Room, completed about two years ago, makes instantaneous conversation with field commanders easier than ever.

Both the transition officials and some White House insiders say it may make this communication too easy, sucking the commander-in-chief into a situation in which real-time, straight-from-the-battlefield discussions of tactics masquerade as a conversation about strategy.


One recently departed National Security Council official noted earlier this year that in his view, the problem is that the system is largely in the hands of war-fighters; only on a rare day, and only toward the end of his presidency, did members of Provincial Reconstruction Teams and other aid workers involved in nation-building pop up on Mr. Bush’s screen.

“The technology tends to skew the nature of the advice you hear,” this former N.S.C. member said, declining to speak on the record because the sessions he witnessed were classified. “You spend a lot more time talking about hitting a house of full of bad guys in Waziristan than you do talking about why our effort to build schools and roads is moving so slowly.”

We Won't Have Mel To Kick Around Anymore

Martinez isn't going to run for re-election in 2010.

Fresh Thread

Heading to a coffee shop at which point more exciting blogging will commence.

Vice President For SUPERTRAIN

Joe's trying to win my heart. Remarks as prepared at governors' meeting:

On infrastructure specifically, we have a huge opportunity. China invests 7-9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure projects. We invest just 1 percent. There’s a reason they have a mag-lev train that can go over 200 miles per hour.

I may have a bit of a pro-rail bias, but think of the jobs we could create – in both construction and innovation – if we made similarly bold investments here.

We should fast-track funding for the thousands of ready-to-go projects across the country that can quickly put people back to work and lay the foundation for long-term growth.

In the longer term, we are calling for the creation of a new National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will help us make the investments we need to build a 21st century transportation system – while creating jobs and taking the politics out of infrastructure spending. And it has the added benefit of making American business more competitive in the world.


More pink slips.

Bank of America can be expected to cut at least 10,000 investment banking jobs as it moves to absorb Merrill Lynch, sources have told CNBC.

The layoffs will start before the end of the year and possibly as soon as this week.

While there is and will be a national recession, there will be tremendous local variation. Quite curious how New York will be affected, and how it might change the city's direction.

Wanker of the Day

Alessandra Stanley.

Boehlert has more.


If you have a few minutes, please take the reader survey.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

That you shouldn't have handed $700 billion to these idiots.

The head of a new Congressional panel set up to monitor the gigantic federal bailout says the government still does not seem to have a coherent strategy for easing the financial crisis, despite the billions it has already spent in that effort.

Stupid Stadium Tricks

Oh boy, they've broken ground on a stadium in Chester, a poor suburb of Philadelphia. A lot of public money is being spent, and while it has excellent highway access it has not so great public transit access. As this article points out, the city doesn't even have a supermarket.

I guess it's outside the box thinking, but supermarkets are exactly the kind of thing local authorities should, if necessary, be subsidizing if they're going to start throwing public money around.

Oh, Canada!

by Molly Ivors

Even your coups are polite!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Late Night


Run, Toomey, Run!

One of the mostly ignored stories of 2004 was just how close wingnut Pat Toomey came to picking off Arlen Specter in the 2004 primary.

I'm in for $50 if you run, Pat!

Dessert Thread

Here's something from the youtubes.

Dinner Thread



The pink slips arrive.

NEW YORK ( — JPMorgan Chase said Monday it plans to lay off 9,200 employees at Washington Mutual, the failed savings and loan that the New York City-based banking giant bought in September.


JPMorgan will slash 3,400 WaMu employees in Seattle, Washington, according to JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Christine Holevas. That comes on top of the 1,600 job cuts in Pleasanton and San Francisco, California, which the company announced last week. The remaining 4,200 cuts will come from Washington Mutual offices nationwide, Holevas said. But she added that most branch workers will keep their jobs: Most of the layoffs will be at the corporate level.

Happy Hour Thread

Bloody Marys at the bar.


Another exciting day at the dog track.

Of Course He Is

WSJ tells me:

Paulson says the administration is looking for more ways to tap the $700 billion financial rescue program.

Gonna steal it all...

Deep Thought

Remember when John McCain was running for president? That was pretty funny.

Already Long

At 12 months, this recession is already longer than the NBER determined length of the last two, at 8 months each.

New Blood

I've long said that the US Senate needs a bit of employee turnover. This year we got it!

New Dem Senators:

The other Udall

New Republican Senators:

And we're up to 3 senators needing to be replaced: Clinton, Obama, Biden (whose replacement has already been announced).

That's 12 13 in total, with two more still undecided, so we could get Franken and Martin, and the possibility of more people getting Cabinet jobs.

Official Recession

CNN tells me the NBER has made their declaration that the recession began in December '07.

Going Forward

My guess is that in early January the Republicans will make some pleasant sounding noises about how they're looking forward to working with the new president, blah blah blah, and then there will be some fake controversy or Cabinet nominee who just "crosses the line," and then in more sorrow than anger they'll proceed to burn everything down.

Somewhat Remarkable Not Remarked On

Someone over the weekend was complaining to me about the lack of diversity of Obama appointments. Aside from the fact that very few had actually been officially made, I found this puzzling. Right now there's a male African-American AG nominee, a female African-American UN ambassador nominee, a white female Sec. State nominee, a white female DHS Secretary nominee, and a white guy standing on on a stage with Obama and Biden.

...oops. Missed one. There's another white guy up there, too.


This Obama/Clinton soap opera will never end!!!

Cabinet Meetings

Yglesias writes:

Since no modern president actually governs via cabinet meetings...

Obviously George Bush didn't govern via Cabinet meetings; they were just photo ops when he had them. But what about Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Ford? I actually have no idea.

More generally, it seems like Bush spent a hell a lot of time wandering around the country giving random talks. As with many things, the press was remarkably incurious about how Bush could pack all of this activity into a day, and still have time to do some important work before turning out the lights at 9pm.

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Except that they, you know, did.

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.

"Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories," California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job.

Bowing to aggressive lobbying — along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK — regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.

(via Phillybits)

"She Never Goes Away"

The Clintons just drive the press insane.


Over there.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A series of bombs struck U.S. and Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul on Monday, killing at least 32 people and wounding dozens more, Iraqi officials said.


chat away

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tanta, Rest In Peace

Aside from a couple brief email exchanges I did not know her personally, but she will be missed.

Dessert Thread

I got nothin'.

Dinner Thread


Jobless In Seattle

It seems most bank branch employees will keep their jobs, but it's going to be a bloodbath in Seattle for back office employees of Washington Mutual.

Up to 19,000 employees of Washington Mutual face being laid off this weekend as JPMorgan Chase turns up the synergy on its recent acquisition.

On Friday, JPMorgan Chase (nyse: JPM - news - people ) said it expects to retain the 22,000 employees who work at Washington Mutual branches and 2,000 workers in the mortgage and wealth management divisions in California, spokesman Tom Kelly told The company has not yet determined the total numbers to be cut in other states, but it planning to inform all former WaMu employees of their job status by Monday.

More Thread


Even More Road Rage

This was funny, too:

Mass transit

is just another way for collectivists to manifest their primary personality disorder ... fear of being alone. Given a choice between the peace and solitude of a private vehicle or the cramped, smelly quarters of a train, the collectivists will choose to be with other people, ANY people. So instead of them seeking psychiatric help, we all have to pitch in and buy them a train. Stupid.
posted by jollyroger on Nov. 30, 08 at 12:32 PM |
1 of 11 people liked this comment.

You Can Keep Your SUPERCARS

A reader wrote in suggesting that I shouldn't be pitting cars and mass transit against each other, but instead highlight how providing people with additional options would often make things better for drivers. And it is true that a lot of the policies I support would make things better for many drivers. My SUPERTRAIN doesn't require that your highway be knocked down. I have nothing against cars, I just dislike policies which lead to car dependency. Higher parking rates make it more expensive to park, but also easier to find parking places.

Not everyone minds living in car dependent locations. Fortunately for them, they have plenty of those options and will continue to do so even after decades under my benevolent dictatorship. Not everyone wants to live in New York City, and fortunately for them my plan to convert the country into Manhattan will probably not be very effective.

So, don't worry people, there will still be plenty of highways and parking! Enjoy it!

Job Market For Tenured Buffoons Looking Pretty Good

But, contra Will, all signs point to an absolutely brutal monthly jobs report on Friday.

Lunch Thread


And You'll Still Be Able To!

I love drivers who get enraged at the thought of alternative transportation options.


I would rather sit in traffic and listen to my own radio station and be alone in my car than cram into a sardine can. We arent New york and Chicago. I like my car and thats it!!!!!
posted by johnjsmith on Nov 30, 08 at 2:46 am |
1 of 4 people liked this comment.

Clear Policies

Back when the greatest threat to our democracy was the possibility that bloggers might have relevant undisclosed financial ties, I was trying to walk one reporter through the issue (as in, trying to explain how this was really fucking stupid). As with many reporters, he tended to talk about some imaginary ideal of his profession, not the reality, and when I asked him if readers were always made fully aware of any conflicts of interest of all op-ed competitors he sort of sputtered, "they're vetted!" He knew this was bullshit, I knew this was bullshit.

And NBC has "clear policies" that whatever shit they shovel down your throat is really yummy shit, so don't worry your beautiful brains about anything.

The Rules

Quite often development patterns are based on misguided rules from the 50s. City Line Ave., a city border street, is a perfect example. And here's a very simple rule which has made it crappy for many years:

What it came up with were proposed changes to the area's 1950s-era zoning that enables the essentials of smart-growth development, such as high-density housing and high-rise office buildings, which limit construction's footprint and increase the likelihood of pedestrian activity.

On both sides of City Avenue, current parking and building setback requirements make it nearly impossible to develop a truly walkable community of housing that sits atop stores, all within a comfortable stroll of offices and the two SEPTA rail lines serving the area.

The new zoning proposal reduces how much buildings are set back from the road to eliminate the unappealing seas of asphalt that front so many office complexes and shops along City Avenue.

Setbacks and parking requirements destroy walkable communities.

Reverse Flow

Now can Dou Lobbs talk about something else?

MalaquĆ­as Gaspar left his farm village in southern Mexico when the economy soured in the mid-1990s. He headed north illegally and found the proverbial better opportunity in South Florida, where he made a decent living by picking fruit and building homes.

But the U.S. economic crisis has disrupted his life and the lives of countless other illegal immigrants who are now planning to leave or have already left.

I'm so old I can remember when Dou covered business. Maybe if he'd spend the last few years covering the Wall Street menace instead of the brown menace things could've been different.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.
ABC's "This Week" — Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. ___ CBS' "Face the Nation" — Authors round table. ___ NBC's "Meet the Press" — First lady Laura Bush; Said Jawad, Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S.; Ted Turner, CNN founder and author of a new memoir. ___ CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; Sajjan Gohel, director of international security, Asia-Pacific Foundation; Ron Gettelfinger, president of United Auto Workers; Gene Sperling, former Clinton administration economic adviser; Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq. "Fox News Sunday" _ Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Morning Warmup

Loosen up those keyboard fingers. Atrocity documentation request, to come.