Saturday, October 4, 2008

Debate Rehash

Two hours in 10 minutes, thanks to Talking Points Memo. 70 mil viewers btw

Hidden Inside The Bailout

is a better bailout. I only learned about this today while listening to the excellent team of reporters who've been explaining the financial thingy (crisis, meltdown, disaster, tsunami, all of the preceding?) on their blog, in podcasts and for Ira Glass's radio show on NPR called This American Life.
At the very end of the program, which helped me understand credit default swaps even though I didn't want to, one reporter noted that their is some "very subtle" language in the bill that no one apparently noticed when it passed the Senate. It then went right through the House and the president's desk intact, even though the banking types had heavily lobbied against it and no one had expected it to get through.
It allows the SecTreas at his discretion to do what the majority of economists have preferred, a "stock injection plan," meaning getting the taxpayers a piece of each bank in return for the financial help. Yeah, just like Warren Buffet is getting from Bear Sterns (or was it Goldman Sachs) and GE.
Nobody knows who put the language in.
Paulson may not do it. Or he may get pressured to do it. But it's certain that an Obama SecTreas will, and that's what we're going to have in a few short and financially scary months.
Here's a link to the Planet Money blog at NPR where you can read all about it.
This American Life puts their shows online a few days after broadcast. Here's their link.

O Noez!

Shakespeare was the first blogger.
Shakespeare invented some 2,000 new and compound words and a host of now-familiar phrases. He was particularly partial to turning nouns into verbs--to cudgel, to champion, to gossip--just as we like to twitter, to spam or to blog (he would surely have gorged himself on Google like a kid in a sweetshop). He created numerous compounds from existing words (farmhouse, bloodsucking); we do the same (homepage, podcasting). The man who first used the falconry term ‘hoodwinked' to describe human trickery might even have enjoyed being rick-rolled.

'The Reckoning'

is what the New York Times is calling its series about the financial crisis that includes the excellent story yesterday about the SEC that I linked.
Here's the link to the series so you can bookmark it and catch up.

Everything You Need to Know

about the credit crisis.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin Meets Fargo

Post-Debate Health Care Ad

There are a bunch out there today, but I like this.

Politics Is Theater

And who better to interpret what we saw than Roger Ebert?
Yeah, and Fargo is one of my all-time favorite movies.
So she was understandably nervous, and you could tell that by her rapid speech, faster than what we've heard before from her. Listening to her voice, you could also sense when she felt she'd survived the deep waters of improvisation and was climbing onto the shore of talking points. When she was on familiar ground, she perked up, winked at the audience two of three times, and settled with relief into the folksiness that reminds me strangely of the characters in "Fargo."
Palin is best in that persona. You want to smile with her and wink back. But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman's logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn't have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, "M'am, I been cooperatin' with ya here." Palin was persuasive. But I felt a brightness that was not always convincing.

Comment O' Teh Day

From Huffpo:
October 3, 2008

To: Sarah Palin
From: The American Human Resource Office
Re: Vice President job position

Dear Sarah Palin,
We regret to inform you that you have been denied the position you applied for as Vice President of the Unites States of America. Thank you for applying and good luck.


Fire SEC Head?

Maybe McCain's shoot-from-the-hip reaction was right. But why stop there, let's put Paulson in jail.
Here's the NYT on how this meltdown happened.
In loosening the capital rules, which are supposed to provide a buffer in turbulent times, the agency also decided to rely on the firms’ own computer models for determining the riskiness of investments, essentially outsourcing the job of monitoring risk to the banks themselves.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The V. P. Debate

I'm sorry, it's all about perception. Sarah did fine. She didn't sink to the bottom. They prepped her well. Thi s is not  gamechanger.

Debate Drinking Game

I found one on Kos and one on Wonkette, but they weren't funny so make up your own.
Namecalling 101: Snow Methbilly (okay, so you didn't know Wasilla is like the meth capitol of Alaska. Like I said, I don't get out much.)

Debate Prediction: Palin Makes Biden Cry

You know you need a laugh.

'...The Trainwreck Has Left the Station'

Comment o' teh day at TPM's daily tracking poll update, Polls Mean Nothing Dept.

O Brother

Where Art Thou. O Death, there you are.
Some exceitement today that Ralph Stanley has made a radio ad for Obama that's running in southern Virginia and other close markets like North Carolina and W. Virginia.
In case you don't remember, he's a bluegrass icon.


Everything Sarah

Talking Points Memo has put together all the best in one easy page in case you need to prep for tonight's debate. There should be a drinking game out there, I'll try to find one.

'Make-Believe Maverick'

A lot of us bought into the various McCain myths perpetrated by worshippers in the media. But this campaign has shown him up for what he really is, a liar.
This new story in Rolling Stone is a must read according to the 'sphere today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Senate's 'Rescue' Plan

No longer a bailout bill, includes enough new tax break goodies to add $108 to the federal deficit. No wonder it wins.
Do the words "kitchen sink" come to mind?

The Big Dog Is FIRED UP!

Bill Clinton took a bit of flack for being too complimentary of McCain, a bit cool about Obama, but an anonymous aide says that's because McCain was about to speak to his big Global Initiative thingy.
That's over now, and he's set up for 35 days of the sort of thing he does best.
Today in Florida:

Yay, Nurses!

Why Obama Is Leaping Ahead

Polls Mean Nothing Dept.

Quote O' Teh Day

Asked why McCain was in Iowa(where O has nearly a 10 point advantage and has had for some time), one veteran Republican there replied: “Because he’s running a senseless, non-strategic campaign. Why else would he come here?

Spread This Around

Planned Parenthood is putting this ad up in three states, but you can help spread it around by sending the URL to friends.
Apparently Wasilla was the only city in the state that did this and the Legislature had to pass special bill to prevent it.
Supposedly Palin opposed taxpayer funding for rape kits because they included emergency contraception for victims.

Hedge Fund Crash Looming?

And does it really matter to you?

You think things are bad now? Just you wait: the chart above gives you a very good indication of what Christine Williamson calls the "bloodbath ahead" in the hedge-fund industry.
No one wants to be invested in an underperforming hedge fund right now -- and half of the hedge funds in America are underperforming. What happens when investors decide to take their money out tomorrow, as they're generally allowed to do on the first day of any quarter?
I haven't a clue and this article doesn't help much, but it did remind me of what Jon Taplin wrote about the other day, so it will be interesting to see what hits the headlines.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Very Private Phone Call

between "Treasury boys" and financial services people on Wall Street wasn't so private after all. There's even a recording.
Matt Stoller of Talk Left posted about it on DKos.
I'm wondering what sort of fallout, if any, there will be.
Read it and weep.

Insider Knowledge?

Andrew Sullivan passes this along from Robert Reich, a guy I always liked a lot.
I think he's shorter than I am.

A scaled-down bill will be enacted by the end of the week. It will provide the Treasury with a first installment of $150 billion. Treasury can use it to back Wall Street’s bad debts with lend no-interest loans of up to two years, until the housing market rebounds. Or to invest in Wall Street houses directly, in exchange for stocks and stock warrants. There will be strict oversight. Congressional leaders will promise further installments, but with conditions calling for limits on salaries and relief to distressed homeowners.

A Reminder

of where we come from, even though most of us don't know it. But Scott Horton does, and once in a while seems to touch me directly.

Let us restore to order the heaven that lies within us intellectually, and then that visible heaven that presents itself bodily to your eyes. Let us distance from the heaven of our mind the bear of roughness, the arrow of envy, the foal of levity, the dog of evil calumny, the bitch of flattery; let us banish the Hercules of violence, the lyre of complacency… When we have in this way made for ourselves a new home and restored our heaven, then, too, shall reign new constellations, new influences and powers and new destinies. All depends upon this higher world, and out of its contradictory causes flow necessarily contradictory effects. Oh we happy ones, we truly blissful ones, know that our happiness depends upon the proper cultivation of our minds and thoughts. If we wish to improve our condition, we must change our customs; if we want the former to become good and better, the latter must not be allowed to worsen. If we purify the drive within us, then it will not be hard to pass from this transformation in the inner world to the reformation of the sensible and external world.
Giordano Bruno, La spaccio della bestia trionfante (1584) in Le opere italiane (P. de Lagarde ed. 1888), p. 412 (S.H. transl.)

Tuesday Is Important

Because it's the first day that hedge fund redemptions may be done and, also, the Chinese banks that were closed today to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of Communism.
This from Jon Taplin's blog. Judging from numbers of comments, he may not be widely read but I always learn something new from him.
And, oh, I guess I missed this but a lot of people, Krugman included, seem to believe that Paulson's decision to let Lehman go down triggered the panic mode we're in now.

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

I know he really does't look like George Clooney, but I'll never forget Syriana.
This is Bob Baer's opinion:
I myself think a deal can be cut with Iran. During the last 30 years, Iran has gone from a terrorist, revolutionary power to far more rational, calculating regional hegemon. Its belligerence today has more to do with a weakened United States and Israel than with any plans to start World War III.
The question is what price Iran would exact for a settlement. Or more to the point: Would we prefer to take our chances with an Israeli surprise?
Baer, a former CIA case officer, is author of the just-released "The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower."

Bailout: NOT

Today, anyway. Boehner blames Pelosi for not being nice enough. I have no opinion anymore.

Palin: Russia

The Bailout, In English

at least that's what Andrew Sullivan says. Me, I nodded out after #3.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bumper Stickers

Would you buy this one?
Just wondering.
How about:

I Hate Budgets

Who doesn't? I mean, really, it's all numbers and stuff.
However, wait for it....

Click to enlarge.

Cut Those Earmarks

Yup, yup, that'll do it.
McCain's solution, remember.

Slick Willie

Ooh, just term sounds sexy. Anyway, if you're not a news junky with too much time on your hands, you may not know that Bill Clinton cannot bring himself to be Barack Obama's new best friend.
This sort of says it all.

Bob Woodward

half of the team that became famous for breaking open the Watergate scandal and pulling down Richard Nixon, is venerated for that, but not always what he's done since.
The New York Times has a nice take today along with this gem of a quote from Joan Didion:
The striking lack of contextual analysis in all his books about presidents going back to Richard Nixon has angered some readers and critics, most famously Joan Didion, who in an appraisal of six Woodward volumes (from the 1980s and ’90s) wrote, “These are books in which measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent.”
UPDATE: I amend what I said above. This piece is a really good analysis of Woodward's four books on Bush and he is properly acknowledged for the gold he got, though still criticized for what he fails at.

Quote O' Teh Day

Rick Hertzberg on Palin's Couric interview.
 The whole thing reads like something rendered from the Finnish by Google Translate.

Polls Mean Nothing, Nothing

That said, Obama's lead is increasing in today's latest daily tracking polls.

Debate on SNL

 Not really a knee slapper, but hey, they try.

Katie And Sarah, SNL Version