Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best. Line. Evah.

"Who do you think you are, a Kennedy. You're a Bush, act like one."
Poppy to Junior in "W," which opened yesterday. Josh Brolin plays W and hosts Saturday Night Live tonight. I usually don't stay up that late, but they've got Sarah Palin on, too, and nobody seems to know if Tina Fey will be back with her Palin impression or not.

Quote O' Teh Day

re: Bush has agreed to a world economic summit, apparently after some footdragging.
On Friday, Mr. Sarkozy said: “Together we need to rebuild a capitalism that is more respectful to man, more respectful to the planet, more respectful to future generations and be finished with a capitalism obsessed by the frantic search for short-term profit.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who engineered a British bank bailout, is proposing a system that would monitor the world’s 30 biggest financial institutions.

Weekend Delight

NPR's Scott Simon was almost worshipful interviewing actor Terrence Howard this morning, and for good reason. He's a fascinating guy, so fascinating that they've put up various versions of the interview as well as a video here.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I first saw him in Hustle and Flow and he and the movie were amazing. Then he showed up in an equally compelling and completely different role in Crash.

Reaganomics Without Clothes

by Jon Taplin
Thus the Big Lie of Reaganomics is revealed for all to see. Radically reducing taxes on the rich does not stimulate productive investment, it merely stimulates speculation. Needless to say, John McCain’s whole economic policy is based on this fallacy.

Namecalling 101

Michael Scherer: Four ways McCain went wrong. His bizarre campaign suspension and news cycle approach to strategery are two out of the four. We'll throw in "McCain wasn't McCain" for the media suck-ups. But the big mistake was picking the Disasta from Alaska.

The Bradley Effect

Nate at 538 says no such thing, but people continue to talk about it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain Psychotherapy

From some HuffPo bloggers:
Never mind that when John McCain smiles, it looks about as warm and inviting as a moonlit New England country graveyard.

Never mind that he exhibits more twitches, tics and jaw-clenches than the night shift at a meth lab.

The Village, The Beltway, Whatever

Some of the good guys discuss what freedom of the press is for:
Covering one of the most important stories of our time – the run-up to war in Iraq -- our nation’s top reporters and editors blew it. Badly. Their credulous, stenographic recitation of the administration’s deeply flawed arguments for war made them de facto accomplices to a war undertaken on false pretenses.

UPDATE: TPM rates the insiders for their "tire swinging" habits.

Crazy Lady From McCain Lady

Because I Can't Help It


Joe The Non-Plumber

Apparently Joe/Sam has been outed as mostly a fraud by some skilled reporters starting with the Toledo Blade in his hometown.
But his "story" was supposed to be the campaign saving message for McCain and they're not giving up on it any more than they're giving up on the ACORN voter fraud lie.
Good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling generated by a Republican lawsuit in Ohio that threatened the voting rights of about 200,000 voters.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Markets Nosedive...

Biggest Drop Since '87

Debate Prep

Yes, Amazing

I'm gonna make you link to Andrew because he made me feel better today.

Oooh, Brain Sex!

The Brits do it again. Maybe I should move.
I never even had the nerve for phone sex.
Old Boomer here, basically socially conservative after 40 50 60 63.

UPDATE: So far I'm more female than male. Four more to go. 2 p.m.

Out of 10 pairs of eyes, you matched 7 with the correct mood.
Women are said to outperform men in this task because they tend to be more sensitive to facial expressions. They are generally better at discerning someone's mood just by looking at their eyes. Studies of children's behaviour have shown that on average girls make more eye contact than boys.
UPDATE III: Okay, the test allows time outs and we need that because we have to find a ruler with milleletres (sp?). (Yes, there is a mouse in my pocket.) 2:21 p.m.

The Chocolate News With David Alan Grier

The black comic's new show on Comedy Central debuts tonight. You can watch pieces of it and videos of other CC shows here.
Here's what he's like — funny.

The McCain-Palin Base

The Anti-Val Gal

Two young Alaskan women on Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ad O' Teh Week

From MoveOn

I Forgive Andrew Sullivan Everything

because he's got great connections with great news.

Running On Empty

EE suggests the movie should be re-released. I say, there's always Netflix.
But , yeah, see it again, it was a really good movie.
Arthur and Annie Pope are loosely modeled after Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn of The Weather Underground.[

Internet And Interactivity

That's the beauty of it, so keep those cards and letters coming folks.
Anyway, I'm probably not the only one who corrected Andrew Sullivan about his naive reference to a Wall Street Journal editorial about ACORNN and supposed voter fraud, and he hasn't exactly acknowledged that it was a poor choice of citations, but he later cites the two much better discussions and links I sent him.
In my view, he stands corrected. And I'm a bit disappointed that he doesn't think admitting it would add to, not detract from, his credibility. After all, that's what he's demanding from those he criticizes.

Campaign Spending

(Freaks, I tells ya, Freaks!)
Yeah, those guys at Freakonomics figured this out a long time ago, just like communications experts figured out that newspaper endorsements do not predict election outcomes.)
In other words: it’s not that raising a lot of money helps a candidate become more appealing and therefore do better; it’s that better candidates raise a lot of money because they are so appealing. Just remember: about a year ago, Mitt Romney was loaded and John McCain was just about broke. If money is so central to elections, why couldn’t Romney put McCain away? And how on earth did McCain end up winning the G.O.P. nomination?
On the other hand, a lot of commenters have good counter arguments, so I say it's a wash. The Freaks don't know everything.

Fer Teh Helluvit

And just because I can and also, don't feel like making a new slideshow yet.

All This TED Spread Stuff

kinda goes over my head. I sometimes try to get it, but something deep inside me rejects it. I should have studied botany, but I was sooo math challenged that I had no confidence. And still don't.
But I can easily see what overcapacity means. And the origins of jazz. Right now, Billie on the radio. One for my baby, and one more for the road.

Obama Needs

a Pet Policy.

Quote O' Teh Day

On the econ fixit, a commenter at Krugman's blog today:
It is like trying to stuff feathers back into a pillow in a breeze. You can do it, but not before your mother gets home, and not before a lot of feathers get scattered and lost.

— Posted by Joseph O'Shaughnessy

Chris Buckley Gets Quired

from the magazine founded by his father, the late lamented Wm. F.
All because he announced his endorsement of Obama.

So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

The Bradley Effect

is about the continuing Republican meme that people lie to pollsters about whether they will vote for a black candidate, preferring to have some stranger calling you on the phone believe you are not racist.
Tom Bradley was the black man running for governor of California in 1982 who was expected to win and didn't. But his own pollster said the expecation was built upon faulty sampling and there was, actually, no Bradley effect.
Nate Silver at 538 has written about this, but apparently NPR hasn't heard about it becasue today they're pimping a story about it, which really pisses me off and I guess I'm going to have to listen and then blast a complaint.
Nate also responded to a right-wing critique of his analysis here, in case you want to get into the technicalities.

Vote Fraud

Even Andrew Sullivan got taken in today by the right-wing meme against ACORN 's voter registration work and it looks like McCain will use it as a way to show his base why he didn't lose the election, but got it stolen by black people.
I sent him Josh Marshall's excellently analyzed and sourced discussion along with HuffPo's news analysis showing Republican — including McCain — ties to ACORN.

ACORN pays people by the number of registrations gathered and sometimes some of them cheat. But as Josh argues, registering Mickey Mouse is different than Mickey Mouse actually going to the polls and voting.
During one disturbing period of my checkered career in journalism, one boss thought it would be a good idea to set production quotas of three stories a day.
What they got were more re-written press releases than they had room to print. I think we all cheated.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nov. 4, 2008

Landslide, I tells ya!

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama is likely to pick up 364 Electoral College votes, far surpassing the 270 needed to claim the presidency, by winning battleground states including Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado, online traders say.

Bettors on the Dublin-based Intrade's political futures market believe Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, will prevail in all the states won by party nominee John Kerry in 2004, in addition to picking up other previously Republican strongholds such as Nevada and Missouri. Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, would pick up 174 Electoral votes, winning states such as Texas, Indiana and West Virginia.

As the economic crisis dominates the presidential campaign, Obama, an Illinois senator, has surged in national polls over McCain. Obama has opened a 10 percentage-point lead over McCain, 53 percent to 43 percent, among likely voters nationally in a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken Oct. 8-11. That's up from a 4 point lead in a Post-ABC poll taken at the end of September.

Polls Mean Nothing Dept.

Well, actually that's national polls, anytime before about three weeks out from the election, which is about where we are.
Also, state polls are really important because we have this thing called the electoral college.
Anyway, Missouri has always been kind of an also-ran for Obama but today the latest poll has him up 8 points. (8 points!)
And he's also up in...wait for it...North Dakota.

Highly (Highly!) Recommended

So it's a Brit show, so what?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Executed this date in 1915: Edith Cavell

From this at Daily Kos.

The Farmer's Daughters

Albiera, Allegra and Alessia Antinori. Preview of 60 Minutes tonight.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Someone You Never Heard Of

was right, years ago. And, it was a woman.
But more than a decade ago, a woman you're likely never to have heard of, Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission -- a federal agency that regulates options and futures trading -- was the oracle whose warnings about the dangerous boom in derivatives trading just might have averted the calamitous bust now engulfing the US and global markets. Instead she was met with scorn, condescension and outright anger by former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and his deputy Lawrence Summers. In fact, Greenspan, the man some affectionately called "The Oracle," spent his political capital cheerleading these disastrous financial instruments...
Brooksley was this woman who was not playing tennis with these guys and not having lunch with these guys. There was a little bit of the feeling that this woman was not of Wall Street.")

It Isn't Just The Political Press

I really like Jerome and so does most of Daily Kos. Here's why:
One of the striking things about business newspapers, in fact, is that they are great sources of information if you don't read the headlines, the front page or just the leading paragraph of articles, but focus on the full content of the paper. All the information is there, available to be analysed. But the analytical skills of their main pundits and editorialists, and the common wisdom on context that gets distilled into other articles, rarely absorbs that content - in fact, it is often amazing how often it appears that those people in such papers that are in charge of analysing the news and providing an interpretation that will be distributed far and wide (for these pundits are influential) do not read their own paper...
And thus, as mainstream news organisations, politicians and TV anchors get their cues from the Serious People in the business press, the hard information gets lost as analysis turns into mush or propaganda (your choice), and people believe it was never there in the first place.
"Nobody could have predicted" really means "I'm too stupid to know what I'm talking about."

Besides, he's French.
And here's one commenter's take on Roubini's previous predictions.

Inside Baseball

You have to be a political junkie to get all the references in Jason Linkins' liveblog of the Sunday talking heads, but it's always fun to speculate about what he means. If you follow him regularly, eventually you'll know.

I just know some bald dude named Kashkari is going to make these decisions. Is no one stunned by the irony that the guy who's going to allegedly save our economy has the words "cash" and "carry" in his last name? Just me? Anyone? Well, okay.

Only 23 More Days

and it will all be over.
And you'll never have to think about the Sunday Talking Heads again.

Nov. 4, 2008

Is this true?
From Radical Center at 538, 10/9/08:
Even some of the media outlets have been letting go of the 'razor-thin-margin-too-close-to-call-statistical-dead-heat-anyone's-race' mantra and actually stating what those of us with polling data and a spreadsheet have been saying for weeks. It's not really that close people. It was the same way during the primaries - the storyline after Super Tuesday was always 'Obama leads by the narrowest of margins'. All a real journalist had to do is go to Wikipedia, copy their HTML chart into Excel, and play with numbers to find that the votes for Clinton just weren't there. Weren't for a long time.

PeteKent made me think of an 538-inspired project I worked on yesterday - an election night scorecard. (thanks PeteKent, now find a phonebooth and turn back into a rational non-koolaid-drinker)

These are the returns I am going to be interested in and when they come in:

Time State Electoral Votes
7:00 Indiana 11
7:00 Virginia 13
7:30 Ohio 20
8:00 Florida 27
8:00 Missouri 11
8:00 New Hampshire 4
8:30 North Carolina 15
9:00 Colorado 9
10:00 Nevada 5

By my way of thinking, McCain can only afford to lose NH or NV, but not both. My guess is by the poll closing times, the networks will not be able to call IN, VA, OH, FL, MO. Maybe they will call NH - we will see. If they call any of the first five for Obama, pop the corks, but I think the networks will be too cautious to do so until substatial numbers of returns come in.

I would love to see a more fleshed-out version of this as only Nate can do. Something that says "At X:00, if the networks call the XX race for Obama/McCain, you can expect YY and ZZ to follow"...

I didn't capture the link to Radical Center's comment, but you should be aware of Nate at 538, he's a highly respected cruncher of poll numbers.

Lies, Lies, Lies

I rarely post about "the media," partly because I think most of us already know intuitively that a large portion of what we read is crap, because we're not stupid. And partly because it's sort of like trying to tie everything to my former profession, like having been a POW explains everything.
Glenn Greenwald spends a lot of his time going after the media in great detail, and I usually read it and digest it.
But today he's done a piece well worth everyone knowing about, even if they don't read Politico, which is fairly new and online only and financed by some right-wing billionaire whose name I can't remember.
It's noteworthy partly because it cites McClatchy and Jay Rosen, not just Glenn Greenwald, as authorities on the subject.
There are other really great critics, but it's important to cite people in the business who know what they're talking about.
From McClatchy:
Why, in a nutshell, was our reporting different [in the run-up to the attack on Iraq] from so much other reporting? One important reason was that we sought out the dissidents, and we listened to them, instead of serving as stenographers to high-ranking officials and Iraqi exiles. I’m afraid that much the same thing may have happened on Wall Street. Power and money and celebrity, in other words, can blind you. Somehow, the idea has taken hold in Washington journalism that the value of a source is directly proportional to his or her rank, when in my experience the relationship is more often inverse.
That brings up a larger point, and one that I think is another part of what went wrong back in 2002, and what may have gone wrong on Wall Street. Instead of being members of the Fourth Estate, too many Washington reporters have been itching to move up an estate or two, to become part of the Establishment or share in the good times.

What Will He Talk About?

Drudge put this up yesterday, but I haven't seen it noted on any other of my regular reads.
After consulting with Barack Obama, Democratic leaders are likely to call Congress back to work after the election in hopes of passing legislation that would include extended jobless benefits, money for food stamps and possibly a tax rebate, officials said Saturday.
The bill's total cost could reach $150 billion, these officials said.
The officials stressed that no final decisions have been made. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a formal announcement. House Democrats have announced plans for an economic forum on Monday "to help Congress develop an economic recovery plan that focuses on creating jobs and strengthening our economy."
Democrats said Obama's campaign has been involved in discussions on a possible stimulus package. The party's presidential candidate, running ahead in the polls, has outlined his own proposals for stimulating the economy.
Democrats are increasingly confident of capturing the White House and increasing their majorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 4.
If they are successful, a lame-duck session of Congress two weeks later would allow them to start work on a response to the credit crunch that has sent stock prices plummeting and also threatens to trigger a deep recession. It often takes two or three months for a new Congress to begin turning out legislation, particularly when a new president is settling into the White House.

Anyway, I'm hypothesizing that the half hour of prime time that Obama has bought on CBS and NBC for October 29 will include detailed plans for post-election economic relief legislation that will force the R's to go along with or face even larger defeat. The basic message will be, we just can't wait, bipartisan, reach across the aisle, etc. It's also designed to counter any kind of "October surprise" plan the R's may have.

Yours truly,
The Amateur Procrastinator Prognosticator

But I Don't Like Beer...Does Wine Come In Cans?

EE passed this along today and we all could use a laff.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you
will have $49.00 today. If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one
year ago, you will have $33.00 today. If you had purchased $1,000 of shares
in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today. But, if you had
purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned
in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have received $214.00.
Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily &
recycle. It is called the 401-Keg. A recent study found that the average
American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that Americans
drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means that, on
average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon! Makes you proud to be
an American!