Saturday, September 27, 2008


WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders and the Bush administration have reached a tentative deal on a bailout of imperiled financial markets that could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
The House could vote on it Sunday and the Senate on Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the accord just after midnight Saturday and said it still has to be put on paper. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson talked of finalizing the deal but added: "I think we're there."

Economy, Chapter XXXXXXX

McClatchy is usually reliable for me. They try. And they're honest, and informed.
I trust them more than any other news source.
What Congress and the administration failed to do, Johnson said, is develop a mechanism to quickly modify distressed mortgages and prevent even more empty homes from being dumped into real-estate markets in freefall. The plan also doesn't help banks bring in new capital to boost lending; instead many are sitting defensively on their reserves to offset expected loan defaults.

....I think it (the bailout) was rushed, and certainly we didn't give other reasonable, cheaper alternatives a chance. But at this point it is what it is, and we all have to pray that it works."

57 Mil Watched Debate

Okay, so did I. But I promptly forgot about it. Anyway, this is apparently some sort of huge record or something.

Preliminary Nielsen data from 55 cities where it operates so-called "people meters," set-top boxes that monitor television viewing, shows that a third of all TV sets were tuned into Friday night's debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. Nielsen won't release final data until Monday, but if the trend from the 55 metered markets holds steady, it would mean about 57 million people watched the debate.

The city with the highest percentage of viewers was St. Louis, where 52 percent of the TVs were tuned to the debate, reflecting either an inordinate civic-mindedness or a complete lack of actual lives, take your pick.


re: why McCain chose Palin
Gem quote:
"I don't care if you know a thing about foreign policy. I don't care if you know a damn thing about the economy. Here is what you are to me--breasts, hair and a lovely smile."

His name is Ta-Nehisi Coates and I know nothing about him except what he reveals in this compelling piece for Salon  The Atlantic, where he is a new blogger.

I look at Palin differently now. She may not be the best person in the world, but what did she do to deserve this? Oh, wait, "breasts, hair and a lovely smile. '

UPDATE: Who is this guy?


The liberals loved Biden, who was all over the spin cycle last night after the debate. (And, of course, Palin was in a bar in Philly or something.)
Anyway, the shortest clip is NBC, but go ahead and watch them all if you want.
I love Joe, but not that much Joe.

Guard Mom And Son Going to Iraq Together

 Jane Strand. You may not like it, but consider how things have changed in a single generation.

From the Raleigh, NC, Observer.

Strand, 48, of Jacksonville joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and served 11 years. She got out to raise her six children and waited, she said, for her husband -- also a Marine -- to retire. As soon as he did, she joined the Guard.

Comment O' Teh Day

From one of the MANY post-debate discussions at TPM

The McCain campaign is predicated on selling Mr. and Mrs. Median Voter an Obama who's an unprepared, inexperienced dangerous, America-hating Muslim terrorist rock star celebrity.
Half Franz Fanon. Half David Bowie.
Mr and Mrs. America instead got to watch the chair of the Masters' in Public Policy program at Enormous State University.
So it wasn't kickboxing. It was better for Obama because it wasn't kickboxing.
We're the only people sitting in front of the tee-vee with a flowchart prepping for our 1NR.
Affect, people, Affect. Affect is the only thing that matters. The swayables who can be swayed by λογος (position papers) and παθος (POW stories) have long since been swayed.
It is now the hour of ἐθος. Obama's people have this timed like the Swiss Railways.
Posted by Davis_X_Machina

O's First Post-Debate Ad

It's the stupid, economy.

Joke O' Teh Day

You've probably heard it, but I don't get out much.
"American beer is like making love in a canoe"
"They're both f*cking close to water!"
Well, it made me laugh anyway.

Animal Magnetism

Some got it, most don't. Paul Newman had it, dead at 83.

A Friendly Critic Watches the Debate

Steve Clemons wanted more from Obama. First I've seen among the blogs and comments I've read who actually critiques content as well as style.
Public polling says Obama won, and debates are more about style than substance, but Clemons is the first one I've read that taps into critical thinking mode and runs the two tapes simultaneously. So yeah, he's worth a read.

Princeton Discussion on Econ Crisis

Krugman put it up on his blog and it's over an hour long and, quite frankly, if I didn't have the patience to sit through the debate last night, I don't think I can sit through this.
But maybe you'd like to try.

(It was a nice surprise to learn that Krugman is not some old fuddy guy but actually is somewhat learned in  blogospeak, as evidenced by this observation:

(and Paulson’s “all your bailout are belong to me” proposal, aside from being bad economics, showed an incredible tone-deafness.)

It is a lolcats reference somewhat like "I can haz cheezeburger?" I know, I know, obscure and not relevant but amusing to those of us who have learned this stuff the hard way.

The Ground Game

The Dems say nationally their voter registration effort has resulted in 12 million newly registered Democrats. Impressive, but where it really counts is in the battleground state. TPM did some digging and reports excellent news.
In a development that could have a significant impact on the presidential race, the rise in registered Democrats has far outpaced Republican registration in many key swing states, giving Dems a clear registration advantage in a lot of them, while wiping away one-time GOP registration advantages in a couple others.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Score: Draw

No winner, no loser.
I know you wanted O to sink him. Maybe you thought he did at some point. But that wasn't the point for the campaign nor for the candidates. Just holding it is enough. Sorry.

Ewww, Putin!

Click on photo for enlargement.

Beautiful Sarah

Someone has posted a video of Sarah Heath (Palin) in the swimsuit competition for the 1984 Miss Alaska contest.
I'm not posting it, I don't want it here, but here's the link.

Polls Mean Nothing, Nothing

Don't say I didn't warn you.
Now, here's the good part:

nAdding these polls together and weighting them by sample sizes, Obama is ahead by a margin of 48.9%-44.5%, almost double his margin from yesterday's 47.7%-45.3%.
Since John McCain began his quasi-suspension to deal with the economic crisis, we've had one new day of data for these three-day tracking polls. And that day doesn't appear to have treated him well.

Anybody want to put money on how soon Palin drops out for personal reasons? I just don't see them letting her debate next week. Plus the scandals are just piling up, new one on the $25,000 worth of gifts she's accepted during her time as gov.
Rudy? Mittens? Huck? Yeah, Huck, I think. But he might turn them down.

How To Judge The Debate

Yes, there will be one! And I'm so excited.
Some guy I never heard of who was Hillary's debate expert has some tips.

My Blogosphere Addiction

began last year while Talking Points Memo reporters were scrambling to keep up with the AG's peculiar habit of Friday afternoon document dumps and readers were helping them scour through them. A series of sleazy right-wing nuts and corrupt AG officials were appearing regularly before congressional committees and Gonzo himself did perhaps an Oscar worth imitation of a giant ball of slime.
It seems like centuries ago, but the issue of the administration's illegal wiretapping is still under investigation.
And Gonzo, who refused to tell Congress who sent him to John Ashcroft's hospital bed to get him to sign off on new lawbreaking policy — Ashcroft refused, by the way — well Gonzo apparently has told investigators it was Shrubya himself.
Ah, crimes and misdemeanors.
Murray Waas has the details.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin on CBS

Somebody I never heard of says:
She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero.

Ah, he's a God guy.

McCain Ad Infinitum


Apparently they forgot to tell him the Paulson plan has been off the table for three days and that they're close to a deal on a new one. As early as today, apparently. Which, uh, kinda means he needs to be at the debate, right? "Unnamed campaign source" tells NYT that, yeah, he'll probably be there. Also, Haley Barbour, infinitely corrupt Republican guv of Mississippi and Ole Miss itself weren't happy about cancellation.
Obama was gonna get two hours of free prime time to take questions from Jim Lehrer and the audience. Guess they didn't consider that possibility.

Andrew Sullivan taps into Jessica Hagy's commentary.
UPDATE: Headline shouls have read "McGuffin" for the distraction Hitchcock liked to fool us with. Rumor has it Dems are preparing for the possibility that McCain will vote agains any plan and that was the whole purpose of this farce from the beginning.

The GOOD Sarah

Sorry I can't embed this Silverman video. Yeah, she's cringy, but in a good way.


Too Late To Kill The Deal?

Megan McArdle, the world's tallest female econoblogger, seems a bit behind events. But who can keep up with this stuff? From what I can tell, she was about eight hours too early, but the discussion is worth considering.
I find it extraordinarily easy to sympathize with the bankers who genuinely believed that they had gotten better at pricing credit risk.  I also find it extraordinarily easy to sympathize with people who dropped out of college to start a band.  In neither case, however, do I wish to reward this behavior with large stacks of unearned money.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sarah and Katie

It's reportedly painfully incompetent on the part of Miss Sarah. I don't want to watch. I hate squirm comedy. But don't let me stop you.

Deal Reached

In fact, there was a deal even before Bush's speech, which I, of course, am tempermentally unfit to watch or listen to.
But I hadn't seen anything on my regular blogs, so I'm surprised. Or maybe just tired.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said a bill could be produced as early as Thursday, with debate and a vote likely over the weekend. Ideally, Durbin said the Senate would finish the bill before Wall Street opens on Monday.
I'm guessing that both Obama and McCain were fully aware of what was transpiring so McCain's latest Hail Mary pass seems even more suspicious. I don't for a minute take it at face value. Just like I don't accept anything being said about the bailout.

So, will there be a debate or not?

Top 50 Political Blogs

most of which I've never read.

Letterman Updated

so you don't have to stay up late after all, which I didn't plan to do anyway.
Unfortunately, not much Olbermann.

Barney Frank, Gotta Love 'Im

For what it's worth, the man who is leading congressional Democrats in negotiating the bailout deal with the administration isn't impressed with Sen. McCain's announcement.

Rep. Barney Frank told a group of reporters outside the House chamber:
"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

Take A Nap And Catch Letterman Tonight

Keith Olbermann is subbing for McCain, who cancelled because of this economic crisis.

Here's Drudge's version of what Letterman has to say:
Wed Sep 24 2008 17:41:58 ET

David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, "Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?"

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, "You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves." And he joked: "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."

"He can't run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?"

"What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"

State Poll Numbers

As Ben Smith over at Politico commented about McCain's surprise today, "nothing has changed between today and last week except the poll numbers." By the way, apparently the debate is going forward. I can't wait.

From Time/CNN
Sept 21-23, +3.5%
Colorado: Obama 51, McCain 47 (confirms what we're seeing--Insider advantage has Obama +9 in CO today as well.)
Pennsylvania: Obama 53, McCain 44 (best PA number we've seen in awhile)
Michigan: Obama 51, McCain 46 (nice to see BHO over 50, though this poll does push leaners)
West Virginia: McCain 50, Obama 46 (another poll showing totally ignored WV to be potentially in play)
Montana: McCain 54, Obama 43 (only disappointing number in the batch).

Sex In The Polar Regions

Well, the Enquirer has been on it and now they've got it. Hey, they got Edwards right, right?

No less than three members of the man’s family including one by sworn affidavit have claimed that Sarah Palin engaged in an extramarital affair with hus­band Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.

These sources have named Hanson as Palin’s secret love, and say their affair nearly wrecked both their marriages


NPR just told me McCain wants to postpone the debate and will "suspend" his campaign to focus on the economic emergency.
Suddenly I feel a little queasy, like we've been set up.

100-Year-Old Reporter Still Working

LINCOLN, NEB.-- A 100-year-old Nebraska journalist is slated to be honored as the country's oldest worker.
Mildred Heath of Overton is a reporter for the Beacon-Observer newspaper, a weekly publication based in Overton. Heath has been working at newspapers in the state for about 85 years.

More About This $700 Billion Thing

A former NYT Pulitzer reporter posed a bunch of questions yesterday that he thought the press ought to ask.
Turns out someone did exactly that, rather neatly. If I were that guy, I 'd be embarrassed.

Ask this question -- are the credit markets really about to seize up?
They already have seized up. That's the problem. All you need to do is look at the TED spread, which is now a whopping 250 basis points.

Make Wanda Sykes Secretary of State

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breaking: Are These Guys For Real

or have we been punkd conned?

Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned.
Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), and insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) also is under investigation.
The inquiries will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals that ran them, the senior law enforcement official said.
The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigations are ongoing and are in the very early stages.
Officials said the new inquiries bring to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation over the past year.

Drinking and Blogging

There was a good reason for this.

Da Bears

You already know all this stuff so you don't have to follow the link to feel bad.

"The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears," according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. "They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don't have access to their usual food sources."

Scientists have noticed increasing reports of starving Arctic polar bears attacking and feeding on one another in recent years. In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female's den and killed her.

Mama Says, Just Say No!

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Todedo

It's The Brown People's Fault!

Greg Sargent is roundly villified on a daily basis at TPM, which is why I love him. He has absolutely NO charisma. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

If Democrats Were Republicans

they would totally run this ad.

Chloris at 82

From Nigeria With Love: Dear American

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a
transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had
crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion
dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most
profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may
know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the
1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds
as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names
of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family
lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person
who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account
numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for
this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with
detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Jeebus H. Christ

the last time I looked, any hope of Kentucky turning out its rottting corpse of a senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was, like, zero.
All the sudden the D is within 3 points.
And Liddy Dole is losing in N.C. and Obama is ahead there and in Virginia. Sununu's going down.
Never mind the fucking national polls, stuff is happening.
Fuck Wonkette, I can't keep off this stuff.

So, commenters at TPM actually pay close attention and I leave it to them:
Colorado and Virginia are breaking for Obama. Since he's pretty much got Iowa in the bag, all he needs to do is win all the Kerry states and this thing is over.
Who gives a fuck what the national numbers say?
Oh yeah, I haven't even mentioned that Florida and N. Carolina are now tied!
Posted by
If Obama can put CO and VA out of reach, the only hope McCain will have is to win Pennsylvania (assuming he holds Ohio and Florida).
Posted by

If You Read Nothing Else

read this guy. Why the hell he's on Romenesko I don't know, since he obviously as a former NYT Pulitzer winning tax reporter could get space on any page he chooses. But anyway, I read it so you don't have to.
Basically, he's telling us (reporters, actually, our surrogates) to not trust the bastards. Any of them. And I don't. Not even Chris Dodd.
but it has not laid out a coherent, specific and compelling need for this enormous proposal, which is the equivalent of a one-time 55 percent income tax surcharge. (Instead the money will be borrowed, so ask from whom and how this much can be raised so quickly if the credit markets are nearly seized up with fear.)
Okay, back to Wonkette now.

P.S. No, wait. I'm FAXing this to my senators and congresscritter. Jeebus!

Ignore Contrarienne Today

And only read Wonkette. That's what I'm doing.

I mean ...before Sarah Palin disappears into her dark lair with Ban Ki Moon and rips off her latex mask, revealing Dick Cheney in a leather muu muu.
I just can't do that shit.

Cheers, julimac

George Will Gets It

and the progressive 'sphere is in heaven. BTW, whatever happened to David Broder?
For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people.

A Finance Guy Checks In (He's Been Busy)

I always respected Billmon at Daily Kos, so he's worth reading, I think.
When I switched my measly cash into treasury money market, which is insured, last year after reading up on it enough to be worried, I told my friends with scads more money what I had done and why. They were unconcerned. "It's in money markets," they said, "I'm not worried."
Some mistakes look even dumber in hindsight than they did at the time: Like the creation of a parallel depository banking system (a.k.a. the money market mutual fund industry) without any sort of insurance fund (either public or private) and only cursory regulation -- which is roughly like building a 150-story skyscraper with one fire alarm and no sprinklers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Waiting For Somebody to Say It

The Republican/McCain plan is to get the Democrats to bail out the GOP's Wall Street friends and then run against them for doing it.

Old Miss

Day In The Life

Some days, the headlines at TPM just say it all. This is one of those days.

McCain Camp Hits NYT — After Repeatedly Citing It

McCain Calls For Citizenship Path For Undocumented Irish (bwahahahaha. sorry, couldn't help it)

Obama To Shoot Hoops, McCain to Nap Before Debate (bwayech, spluch, shlep...)

Obama Shutters Campaign Operations In North Dakota

Cheers, julimac

King Henry Paulson

he of the "decisions by the secretary...are non-reviewable and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency" is reportedly willing to compromise.
How nice. As if he holds any cards.
Do the Dems know they hold the cards? Or do they? Hell, I don't know.

In the meanwhile, the McCain campaign is talking about the New York Times, William Ayers and somebody named Palin. Heh.

At Last: An Immigration Plan I Can Support

SCRANTON, Pa. -- An issue that has been largely missing from the English-language presidential debate recently -- immigration reform -- made a brief return here this morning when Republican John McCain addressed a largely Irish-American crowd.
McCain said there were "50,000 Irish men and women in this country illegally who want to become citizens'' and that "we have to give them a path to citizenship."

Irish people good, brown people bad. (Or at least not recognized.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

McCain's Secretary of the Treasury

(look, the campaign refuses to rule it out) Phil Gramm is a high-up in the Swiss Bank that is among the foreign banks included in the bailout.
Or, as Josh Marshall at TPM says:
John McCain's top economics advisor, who is widely believed to be his choice for Treasury Secretary, should he win in November, is former Sen. Phil Gramm. (Indeed, just last night his spokesman refused to say Gramm wouldn't be McCain's choice for Treasury Secretary.)
Gramm is both vice chairman of UBS's US division and a lobbyist for UBS.
If UBS successfully lobbied over the weekend to get in on the bailout, what was Gramm's role in the lobbying?

Josh unaccountably forgets to remind us that Gramm is the author and chief culprit in the deregulation bill that is primarily to blame for this economic debacle.

Comment O' Teh Day

from the irrepressible "anon."
(Is that you, Arps?)
Thanks. Your links and post on the "bailout" have been very informative. Of course, I think I was better off when I was just worried about the CERN particle accelerator starting up and creating "black holes" that were going to swallow the Earth and the whole universe.

Come to think of it, didn't Paulson mention this possibility also?

Namecalling 101


Quote O' Teh Day II

Considering as how the proposed Wall Street bailout will be one of the most intensely lobbied efforts in American history, will there be anyone left to manage John McCain's campaign?

Perfume: How Much Do You Know?

...loud perfumes are disgusting, yet they are fashionable in America because we like to flaunt the brands we wear. Christopher explains that major cosmetic companies are aware of this, and it has long been standard practice to vary a perfume's formula to appeal to taste in the markets it's destined for: the American version will be quite bold, but the Japanese version may be even softer than the French one. "Nobody will confirm that for you," Christopher says, "but it's true".

I know nothing, but I know what I like. And I've never been able to find anything like the dacquiri scent I used to buy for my husband in the 60s. Just the memory makes my mouth water. They don't make it any more. Maybe I should talk to this guy.
Christopher describes the fragrance as "Coppertone 1967 blended with a new accord I created especially for this perfume--North Atlantic. The base of the scent contains a bit of Wet Sand, Seashell, Driftwood and just a hint of Boardwalk." If that sounds too fanciful to be true, you should smell it.

Meanwhile, Back In Alaska

Yer not gonna believe this. Okay, you will. Even before I tell you.

Sarah Palin never got that "bridge to nowhere" that she was for before she was against it, but she did get a road to nowhere that cost us $25 million. Now you may be asking yourself, if the bridge wasn't built, isn't the road useless? Fear not:
Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein said the 3.2-mile road will be useful for road races, hunters and possibly future development. But with no bridge to serve it, that's probably about it. "I think it will be good for recreational things like a 5K and a 10K," Weinstein said. "And instead of people walking through brush, it may be used for hunting in the area."

Okay, I've been drinking and thinking.
Instead of paying people not to fight us, why don't we offer every American working person a bonus to do with as s/he wishes.
It's a one-time-only payment somewhat less than $1 million, but somewhat more than $100,000.
(totally arbitrary)
I'd do the math on this but that means I'd have to look up the number of employed persons and multiply it by some numbers. It's Sunday, I'm not going to do that.
So lets posit that for the sake of argument, we could do it.
I just think it's a grand experiment that might surprise us.
Okay, back to the gin.
(Yeah, I know that was the stimulus package, but what the hell goood did that do? Good money after bad, you say. Yeah, well, what's Paulson's plan?)

The Pre-Plan

Obama's speech in Florida today included the following, which sounds like as good a place as any to use as a starting place for your FAX to your congresscritters.
Just tell them no bailout without the following, and then cut and paste.
 Free internet FAX here.
Find your congresscritter here.

Obama's speech included six specific stipulations for any bailout that happens.
1.) No blank check: Americans are going to be on the hook for almost $1,000,000,000,000. It's taxation without representation to just write blank checks without being accountable to taxpayers.
2.) Taxpayer money should not be paid to reward CEOs. Period.
3.) Taxpayers are incurring a great amount of cost and risk. The investments should be protected, and they should be able to eventually recoup the losses.
5.) Obama pointed out that this is a global crisis, and that other nations need to step in to help secure the financial market.
I must say, I'm exceptionally relieved that Obama came out pretty strongly with these qualifications for a bailout. Some of them were pretty well-discussed before, like nothing for CEOs, additional regulation, and help for homeowners. But a couple, notably that other countries need to step up to the plate, are new, and fairly novel, and I think absolutely spot-on. The financial market is a global economy now, and so we can't be the only ones taking responsibility for it.

Quote O' Teh Day

From a Sunday talking heads show, I give you the inimitable Sen. Chuck Shumer:
"McCain, in one week, went from sounding like Milton Friedman to sounding like Huey Long."

Bailout Good, Taxpayer Bad

More than you ever wanted to know about it all with links to a variety of truly credible sources from all political perspectives.
Money quote:
That the taxpayer gets cleaned out isn't a bug, but a feature of the plan, and Paulson has admitted so behind closed doors:
You want more, don't you? You're scared and trying to get the gist of it all. Okay, here's this other guy. It's really long and I'll read it all later.
This means that while HOLC/RTC proposals are useful the most important step right now is to meet the demands of the Treasury Secretary for arbitrary powers head on, and select a different entity to manage any bail out, and to forbid bailing out of specific securities, but only of whole entities. In short, before the public will by any more toxic assets, the public will have the authority to remove the people who bought, created, and sold those assets.
There is already an entity whose purpose it is to evaluate failed institutions, collect insurance, and merge institutions into healthy ones. That entity as Robert Reich correctly observed in a recent radio interview, is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Since we have, effectively, taken responsibility for the global financial system, it is time to accept that the principle of insurance, direction, and regulation is required. This process has been going on for some time, since, in fact, the response to the crash of 1987, when circuit brakers were put in place to prevent wide swings of the stock market. However, as of this year, with the US having taken on the losses for the markets world wide, effectively, the solution must be that the financial system must pay for access and insurance in good times, so as to have funds in moments like this. That this principle has escaped 20 years of executive and legislative leaders is a sign of how far down the wrong road we have come.
Bottom line:
(you need to consider calling your congresscritters and senators to tell them to find a better way)
Thus the centerpieces of a counter congressional bill are:
  1. Expansion of the FDIC to include money market funds, brokerages, and other financial funds. Institutions which are out of this expansion, if any, will be allowed to fail as a class. Assign the CBO as the Congressional means of oversight and give the CBO authorization to extend credit to the FDIC, which can be waived if, after Congressional review, the money is justified. Basically, anything that Bush does on the way out the door must be subject to review by the incoming Congress and Administration.
  1. Authorization of an HOLC type cram down of mortgages with government liens, the profits of which are split between home owners and the mortgage system, now in taxpayer hands anyway. Place this process in the hands of the FHA, and have the CBO assigned to continuous oversight. Authorize some 20 billion dollars in stock to be purchased by the government.
  1. Declaration of a national emergency, without expansion of the debt ceiling, and also with explicit judicial review. In the national emergency specific authorization can be given to review any transfer of effective control of banks or other financial entites. In this declaration can be rationing of gasoline, imposition of conservation and other austerity measures.
  1. Dramatically expand safety net programs for the inevitable economic shock: food stamps, unemployment insurance, suspension of interest on student loans, loans to the government by members of the National Guard, active Military, or Reserve and so on.

What's Really Going On

Matt Stoller at Open Left received this email from a Democratic Congress person and it's about the Blue Dogs.

Here's the industry's play: progressives will approach Nancy with ideas for reform, and she'll agree to push for their proposals, and she'll really mean it. Then industry lobbyists will go to Dennis Moore, Melissa Bean and a few other Democrats, and tell them how dire the consequences of the proposals would be, and that the members who understand how the economy works need to step up to stop Nancy and the crazy liberals from doing something rash. Then those Democrats will go to Steny and tell him how terrible Nancy's crazy ideas would be, and how we can't rush into something like that without much, much more thought. Maybe Barney will try to talk to Dennis or Melissa, but it will become apparent quickly that they have no idea what they're talking about; they're just repeating by rote what the lobbyists told them to say. Melissa may actually be dumber than Sarah Palin. Barney will realize he might as well talk to the lobbyists directly and save a step. The lobbyists will agree to something inconsequential, but certainly nothing that would really affect the industry's conduct. Then the leadership will do the math and conclude that because the vast majority of Republicans will vote against any bill, we can't get enough votes without the Dennis and Melissa crowd. The only way, our leadership will conclude, to get anything at all passed is to include nothing more than the inconsequential proposals that the lobbyists agreed to. Then we'll all go along because it would be wildly irresponsible not to act when we're staring over the brink of a complete collapse of world financial markets.
I'd diagram it for you if I had a chalkboard. I've seen the play again and again, and it always goes for long yardage.
The only defense for the play is for a significant group of Democrats to say they won't vote for any proposal that isn't unpalatable to industry, and mean it. It's a pretty high stakes game of chicken, but otherwise we come out of this with nothing but a $700 billion giveaway to a crooked industry.

He Has Two Black Children!

his wife is black and so is he.
So, in case you've been disturbed by the AP story on a very shaky new analysis of prejudiced voting by white voters, take a look at Nate Silver's analysis.
Silver runs 538, a new and highly regarded poll analysis site. Bookmark it if you like your election numbers on a daily basis and ignore anything any traditional media reporter is saying, they hardly know what they're doing anymore.

Namecalling 101

Talibangelicals. As in "The Ohioan Talibangelicals will probably deliver for GOP again, whatever the polls say."

Just Turn Off the TV This Morning

Let Jason Linkins watch the talking heads for you and decide if anything is worth reporting in his inimitable style.
Now we are going to learn things that you didn't want to know, mainly from the King of the Sunday Morning Bonershrinkers, Hank Paulson, who's going to be all over the programs today.
Also, for the critiqe that everyone's recommending, see Sebastian Mallaby in today' s WaPo.