Saturday, February 14, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Or something like that. Chatter on.

Late Night Revelry Thread

Deep Thought

I really don't know what Democrats have to do to start winning elections.

Saturday Evening Thread

Go give someone some chocolate.


Missed a few on Friday.

Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast, Cape Coral, FL
gets EATED.
Corn Belt Bank and Trust Company, Pittsfield, IL gets EATED
Pinnacle Bank of Oregon, Beaverton, OR gets EATED.

We have a very hungry FDIC!


I really do wonder what it would take for the Villagers to realize people don't like Republicans and their stupid shit anymore.


Travel over. Semi-normal blogging to resume.

Saturday Afternoon

Good time for thread.

But That's Fine!

I don't have a problem with Republicans who, on balance, wanted the bill to pass but still voted against it. I don't really think it's "cowardice" or whatever, they're simply making it clear that they're the opposition party. And that's a good thing! It's only in bizarro Broderville, combined with the annoying supermajority bits of the Senate, that anyone really thinks differently. be clear, I don't think the opposition party should always oppose everything. But this was a lot of money. A Republican bill would have been very different! There's nothing wrong with making that point.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Enjoy More


Friday, February 13, 2009

Late Night


Here's Another Thread

Here's Another Thread



Silk? Probably not.


Sherman County Bank, Loup City, Nebraska gets EATED by the FDIC.

Happy Hour Thread


Unquestioned Value

Uncle Alan:
While Mr. Greenspan acknowledges that he could have done something to avert the housing crisis, he contends his hands were tied.

“If we tried to suppress the expansion of the subprime market, do you think that would have gone over very well with the Congress?” Mr. Greenspan said. “When it looked as though we were dealing with a major increase in home ownership, which is of unquestioned value to this society — would we have been able to do that? I doubt it.”

Well, I question it. I have nothing against homeownership, but it isn't right for everyone. Obviously it isn't right for people who can't afford their mortgages after the teaser rate expires. It isn't right for people who need more geographic mobility due to the nature of their jobs or other reasons. It isn't right for people who don't want to invest time in being the "super" of their own building; houses require significant upkeep to main a roughly constant level of quality.

As for Greenspan's ability to anything... if nothing else he shouldn't have encouraged lenders to provide "greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage. "

(ht reader a)

Stimulus Passes House

No Republican votes.

Viva bipartisanship!

Deep Thought

Robert Shiller's in mah room lowerin' mah home price index.

Critics Question

The AP could basically just re-write this article for every line in the stimulus bill.

Remaining Hip And Relevant

Oh boy.

You Know What's Deadly?

Torturing people to death.

Bipartisanship And Comity

You'd think in that backslapping love nest known as the US Senate, a Republican or two might tell Sherrod Brown that he doesn't have to rush back from his mother's funeral.

Is It A Problem?

What do you, readers, think about requiring an 80% LTV (20% downpayment) on primary residence mortgages? Don't think about it terms how it would impact the current crisis if a policy were implemented, whether it's a good idea right now, but if it were to happen in more "normal" times.


Show Me The Money

Here's the spending list.

Deep Thought From Austan Goolsbee


Who had the crazy idea to create mortgage products for people who are in the habit of not paying their bills.

So What If He Did?

HSR between LA and Las Vegas makes sense. It's the right distance, there's a lot of traffic between the two, and right-of-way assembly is presumably (this is just a blog post) easier than it would be between a lot of places.

That Sounded Pretty Interesting

Email subject line read:

White House to Host Media Conference Call with Secret

But email program had just cut off:

ary of Education Arne Duncan


Over there.

BAGHDAD — A female suicide bomber with explosives hidden under flowing black garments blew herself up in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims including many women and children south of Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens more, according to initial reports from Iraqi security officials.

Good morning, brothers and sisters!

Now this is what I call an idea!

Not Atrios

Thursday, February 12, 2009

They Have Conferences

Atrios doesn't get to go to the really entertaining conferences.

Visionary thinkers discuss New Media Empowering Conservative Messages:
Mary Katherine Ham, writer, Weekly Standard (invited)
Alfonzo Rachel, advocate of right-minded ideas on new media
Patrick Ruffini, online and new media strategist (invited)
with moderator Bill Whittle, PJTV

Cutting. Edge. Stuff.

Fresh Thread

Be excellent to each other.

Evening Thread

I'm out, so no more blog for you tonight!


Sitting here listening to Bruce Katz talking about the White House Office of Urban Policy. I'm not sure I agree with his thinking about everything, but it's refreshing hearing someone who sounds like they know what they're talking about.

Happy Hour Thread



Haven't reached the bottom yet.

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices dropped the most on record in the fourth quarter as foreclosures dragged down values and the recession pushed buyers out of the market.

The median price of a U.S. home declined 12 percent to $180,100 from a year earlier and sales of properties with mortgages in default accounted for 45 percent of all transactions, the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors said today. Prices declined in almost nine out of every 10 cities.

Gregg's Out, No Commerce For Him tells me.

Crunch Time

My guess is Republican solidarity against the stimulus bill mostly holds up. As it should! They're the opposition party. It isn't their bill.

We don't have to live in David Broder's world.

Pretty Absurd

If NPR doesn't want to be associated with Juan Williams, they shouldn't, you know, associate with him. Reducing transparency doesn't really seem to conform to any journalistic ideal I'm aware of.

Even More Blogging

Can be found over here today and tomorrow.

The Leader of the Modern Conservative Movement

It isn't Rush Limbaugh. It's Joe the Plumber.


A little bit more for them in the stimulus, it seems.

People In Suits

I'm at NYU for this conference which I'll be covering for The Next American City over here. Never quite got into the whole liveblogging thing, but hopefully the conference be interesting and I will have interesting things to say about it.

So, posting, cross-posting, linking, blogging will be happening shortly.

A Cunning Plan

Red Staters, not so bright.

"Service Extension In The Urban Core"

While I'm certainly for building supertrains everywhere in an abstract sense, given limited resources it makes sense to improve transit in places which already have "transit oriented development" but maybe not quite as much transit as they should. Or, thinking about it from the other direction, a lot of improvements in "transit" can actually be achieved through improvements in land use, by creating transit oriented development around places which are actually well-served by mass transit, but don't have the appropriate density around the stations.

The point is that there are places which have high density and walkability but don't have as good mass transit access as they should, and places which have pretty good transit but don't have the appropriate level of density.
I believe this is what we in the professional blogging biz call "trolling," but I'll bite. The Left, including yours truly, will create an epic 360 degree shitstorm if Obama and the Dems decide that cutting Social Security benefits is a good idea.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Still at holy crap levels: 623K.


Indeed it is. The FDIC is EATING (in various ways) 3 banks per week. People know how to do this.


I think this guy should be on TV more.

Not Atrios

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Late Night

Rock on.

High Comedy

Deep Thought

If only I'd thought to start a bank which was too big to fail.

Cleaning Up The Banking System

It's true that this is necessary, but simply giving them more money and hoping for the best won't do it. Instead of allocating capital efficiently as a good banking system is supposed to do, they decided to put it all down on Big Shitpile. That didn't work out so well. And the idiots are still in charge.

Dinner Thread

Grilled Sardines edition.

I Try To Love My Local Transit Authority

But they do make it so hard sometimes.

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia's largest transit agency is embarrassed about a pass it sold that features a picture of the New York City skyline.

The pass marked with the Philly Beer Week logo is sold to discourage people from driving from one event to another during the beer festival.

Though, credit where credit is due, $9 all day travel good for all trains/buses/trolleys is a pretty good deal.

Stay Outta Da Burbs

It's dangerous out there.

A Bucks County lawyer was fatally shot by an unidentified assailant this morning as he arrived for work at his office in Northampton Township.

Eric Birnbaum, 51, a divorced father of two, was shot once in the back of the head at point-blank range, and was pronounced dead at St. Mary Medical Center, officials said.


All better now!

No Deal

Looks like House Dems balking over lack of school construction money.

Deep Thought

A bit weird telling the operator that the company sponsoring the conference call I'm trying to get on is "The White House."

Looks Like A Win

Haven't gotten all the details yet, and it certainly isn't perfect, but it is pretty much what Obama wanted.

Deep Thought

Most politicians really aren't that charismatic.

Never Mind

About that bailout? Really wasn't necessary after all.

My Old Pal Don Luskin

Still wrong about everything.

Afternoon Thread

Banksters saying anything interesting?

A Bit Better

It's smaller, but it looks like they're adding at least some of the smart stuff (school funds, state aid) and taking out at least a bit of the dumb stuff (at least reducing tax breaks for home and car purchases).

Lunch Thread


Wanker of the Day

Will Marshall.

Hope...Not A Plan

The hope isn't simply that "vultures" will buy up big shitpile, the hope is that vultures will buy up big shitpile at high enough prices that it won't force an appraisal of bank assets that will show that they're insolvent.

With its plan to shore up banks that was announced on Tuesday, the Obama administration hopes to entice investors like Mr. Marks, who has $55 billion at his command, to buy troubled assets from the nation’s banks and enable them to make the loans needed to jump-start the economy.

The administration hopes, in short, to counterbalance some of the fear gripping the financial world with a bit of old-fashioned greed.

To combat the bust, Washington wants to marshal some of the same financiers who grew rich during the boom: hedge fund managers and corporate buyout specialists.

Some sort of nationalization is inevitable. Why the Obama team thinks it's a good idea to light a pile of money on fire first is beyond me.

Blame It All On The O.C.

Works for me.


If Ana Marie Cox's twitters are to be believed, many in the elite press corps were horrified that Sam Stein was allowed to ask Obama a question. This has nothing to do with whether it was a good or interesting question, but simply about where in the pecking order he's supposed to be.

Already Insolvent

There are various ways to tell this story, but the punchline is always the same. The financial institutions are insolvent. For some time many of the people in them perhaps honestly believed that it was a temporary liquidity issue, that the assets were worth more than they could sell them for. That time has long passed. They bet it all on Big Shitpile and lost. And they know it.

Keep shoveling!


I don't know if it's the future of suburbs everywhere, but it's basically what my cunning plan to make you all live in Manhattan is like. Walkable areas around transit stations, walkable corridors between transit stations, and your basic suburbs surrounding them.

Early Morning Thread

If you're up this early you should be making doughnuts or meth.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The Fed has decided it can do whatever it wants. Just in case you didn't know.

WASHINGTON — The White House plan to rescue the nation’s financial system, announced on Tuesday by Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, is far bigger than anyone predicted and envisions a far greater government role in markets and banks than at any time since the 1930s.

Administration officials committed to flood the financial system with as much as $2.5 trillion — $350 billion of that coming from the bailout fund and the rest from private investors and the Federal Reserve, making use of its ability to print money.

Yes, it can do that.


The Dumbest Bit

Is the home purchase tax credit.

More Evening Thread

by Molly Ivors

Atrios, what is this "going out" of which you speak?

Happy Hour Thread

Off to drink liberally, as I do most Tuesdays.

Enjoy your evening!


Another exciting day at the dog track.

Nationalize Them

So sez Roubini (can click through to watch video).

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University, talks with Bloomberg's Kathleen Hays about the banking industry and housing market.

Roubini, who forecast the U.S. recession two years ago, says the U.S. government will have to nationalize some of the biggest banks because they are now "effectively insolvent." (Source: Bloomberg)

Or we can just light a pile of money on fire and then... nationalize them.

Afternoon Thread


Confrontation From The Left

It is what is almost entirely missing from our political discourse. Poor Ben Nelson (don't really pity him) just had no idea how to deal with Rachel Maddow because he never gets questions from that direction.

If You're Wondering Why The Market Is Tanking

It's basically this.

Administration officials were greeted with sarcasm and laughter Monday night when they briefed lawmakers and congressional staff on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new financial-sector bailout project, according to people who were in the room.

The laughter was at its height when Obama officials explained that the White House planned to guarantee a wide swath of toxic assets -- which they referred to as "legacy assets" -- but wouldn't be asking Congress for money. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a bailout opponent in the fall, asked the officials to give Congress the total dollar figure for which they were on the hook. The officials said that they couldn't provide a number, a response met by chuckling that was bipartisan, but tilted toward the GOP side. By guaranteeing the assets, Geithner hopes he can persuade the private sector to purchase a portion of them.

It was expected that even if they came up with a shitty plan, they'd at least look like they knew what they were doing. They have no idea.

Cunning Plan

This seem to be the key new bit.

“Together with the Fed, FDIC and private sector, we will establish a Public Private Investment Fund. This program will provide government capital and government financing to help leverage private capital to help get private markets working again for the legacy loans and assets that are now burdening the entire financial system.”

“By providing the financing the private markets cannot now provide, this will help start a process of providing a market for the real estate related assets that are at the center of the this crisis. Our objective is to use private capital and private asset managers to help provide a market mechanism for valuing the assets.”

They're going to subsidize leveraged bets on leveraged bets. High comedy!


While this is of course about money and power, it's also about ego. None of the masters of the universe and their enablers want to have to admit they fucked the whole thing up.

So absurd.

On A Slightly More Serious Note

I do miss the days when we'd sanctimoniously lecture Japan and other countries about how horrible they were for propping up their failing financial institutions. We'd never do anything that stupid!

Deep Thought

I'm sorry. I should've clapped more loudly.


Aside from the fact that it's all about bailing out Tim's friends, it's pretty clear that they still have no idea what they're doing. It's just throwing good money after bad. Should've just left Paulson in charge.


Can't wait.

If Joe Lieberman decides to run for a fifth term in 2012, a new Quinnipiac poll suggests that it may be a lost cause.

The new poll tests Lieberman as an independent against Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The numbers: Blumenthal 58%, Lieberman 30%. Yikes.

Saving Tim's Friends

This is bullshit.

WASHINGTON— The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

Mr. Geithner, who will announce the broad outlines of the plan on Tuesday morning, successfully fought against more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid.

Call the White House.

Comments: 202-456-1111


You don't start with the compromise.

Deep Thought

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Morning in America

All the threads are open threads.


Rock on.

Monday, February 09, 2009

History's Greatest Monster

Could be Geithner?

Even More Thread


Deep Thought

The US president is a bi-racial black man named Barack Hussein Obama.

Presser The Second




....drink every time a journalist says "bipartisan."

...drink every time a journalist suggests "spending" and "stimulus" are fundamentally different things. the comments for CoT's coverage...


Warning: lots of bad words.

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

(ht baratunde)

Evening Thread

Use it to predict the inane and pointless questions the Villages will ask.

Super Shitpile Fails Again

Good news, though it's a bit sad that it took them this long to figure out that maybe:

1) Buy a bunch of shitpile at inflated prices

2) ...

3) Profit!

wasn't such a hot idea.

The Awesomeness Of Norm

That's a mighty odd supreme deity you've got there, Norm.

When asked about the recount and how it is affecting him personally, Coleman said he starts every day with a prayer and that he knows “God wants me to serve.”

Deep Thought

Anyone suggest tax cuts yet?

Please Stop It

I actually think it's kind of important that people have some general level of respect for government and the people who run it, though of course that respect needs to be earned. A tremendous barrier to that is, well, the idiotic ways that senators behave. This isn't just about the general high wankery level of Joe Lieberman, it's about people who spend all day praising each other for their awesomeness. They do it in the media, they do it on the Senate floor, they do it in committee meetings, they do it when giving other sorts of presentations. Really, just stop it.


I don't know how old this guy is, but I've long been amused by the number of people who, unlike me, actually lived through the 60s and still imagine that our politics is somehow extra nasty because lots of people say mean things on the internets now.

Bankruptcy Cramdowns

I actually don't remember if Obama had come out for this before, but in any case it was good to hear today.

President Barak Obama said on Monday that he supported changing the rules to let judges modify first mortgages to prevent home foreclosures. Obama told a townhall meeting in Elkhart Indiana, as he campaigned for an $800 billion economic stimulus package being debated by lawmakers.

"If you are like most people, including me, and you've got one house ... it turns out that under current law you can't modify that mortgage if you are in bankruptcy," Obama told a townhall meeting as he campaigned for an $800 billion economic stimulus package being debated by lawmakers.

It really is the best, cleanest, fairest, most common sense way to deal with the foreclosure crisis, ensuring that the Wanker Caucus in the Senate won't let it happen.


Remember how Bush would go on the teevee for some dumb speech or fake town hall every day and the cable nets would show the whole thing live and it would drive us liberals crazy?

Welcome to our (previous) world, conservatives.


Obama people are pushing the disconnect between the Villagers and reality.


Our discourse is ruled by very stupid people.


And, yes, there are plenty of places in the US where distances between cities are appropriate for similar lines.

This shift is the consequence of an ambitious programme for high-speed rail. The streamlined AVE trains, with their sleek corridors, work tables and spectacular views, are stealing the show. Those used to the tedious taxi rides, security checks and crowded shuttle flights traditionally endured by Spanish businessmen will not be surprised. The opening of the Barcelona-Madrid line a year ago marked the beginning of the end of airlines’ dominance. In its first ten months it carried 2m passengers; in 2008 its share of the total market rose from 28% to 38%. Josep Valls, of the ESADE business school, predicts that trains will carry most long-distance travellers within two years.

Spain’s high-speed network is still in its infancy. Another 9,000km of lines are planned over the next decade. The aim is to create Europe’s most extensive high-speed network, with 90% of Spaniards living within 50km of a station.

Barcelona to Madrid, nonstop trains go 386 miles in 2:38. You can board at a station right by the Sagrada Familia.


The Villagers, unsurprisingly, have decided that the Republicans have won and Obama has lost the argument. The fact that the American public do not agree matters little.



There really isn't any point in engaging conservatives/glibertarians on anything substantive these days.

No Self-Awareness

TNR really shouldn't be spamming me articles by Leon Wieseltier complaining about platitudinous, propaganda-ridden spam.

Senators Are Ridiculous

Just caught a few seconds of Nelson and Collins talking about how awesome they are.

Moments like that make me ashamed of paying any attention to this stuff at all.


Our political/media system is apparently completely unequipped to deal with politicians who simply flat out lie.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Even More Thread

Insert crappy music video here.

Sunday Night Thread


Ignoring Their Base

Republicans are finally doing it!


With great geniuses like Peter Beinart and Amity Shlaes, nobody could've predicted...


This Bloomberg builds a narrative around one guy's opinion, so I'm not really sure it should be taken seriously, but....WHEEEEEEEEEEE

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s struggle to push an economic stimulus bill through Congress may seem easy compared to what he’ll encounter when he returns to Capitol Hill for additional funds to rescue the banking system.

Obama will likely need to ask Congress for more money to recapitalize banks, as much as $1 trillion on top of the roughly $300 billion remaining in the current Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to an estimate by former Federal Reserve economist Ward McCarthy. That will be an even tougher sell for the new president than the stimulus plan, which is headed for a Senate vote this week after passing the House with no Republican support.


Such comedy.

Until he starts shooting, anyway.

Seen in Philly

Classic South Philly scene: small coffee shop, old Italian guys playing cards under Godfather movie posters, smoking cigarettes under no smoking signs.

Lunch Thread

Some pho and then maybe I'll go enjoy the weather a bit. On your own!

Geithner's Philosophy

Welfare for rich people and shareholders of favored industries and companies.

Which Is It?

Were cuts to important and effective parts of the stimulus bill supported by her because Claire McCaskill agreed with the Republicans that such programs were "silly," or did she support cuts simply as a pragmatic step in order to get the bill passed?

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Lawrence Summers, director of National Economic Council; Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers; Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; and Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Barney Frank, D-Mass.


CNN's "State of the Union" — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Summers; Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Morning Thread

by Molly Ivors

Get yer blood pumping with the Kaiser Chiefs.