Saturday, February 21, 2009

RIP: Socks

Look, it's been going on so long we don't even remember anymore how ridiculous it all is. But there is a documented record. The beauty, perhaps the only beauty, of the intertubes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Irrelevant, But Still

So this guy, Dean Baker, who last I heard was some sort of advisor to Potus, has decided to announce this latest bad news. Read at your own risk.
And meanwhile, a comment:

AMERICA needs something new to sell to the world. I would suggest THE MOON. Sell the moon in the form of Lunar Colonization. The Military Industrial Complex is already tooled up in that direction and need only expand. REMEMBER AMERICANS are the only humans to have walked on the moon.

This Bank Thing

Oh, shit, I've been reading this stuff for weeks (months?) and I don't know, I really don't.
Then this popped into the spere today, and I guess I get it.
Yup. It's coming.

Sullivan was right. Geithner deliberately put out a weather balloon to get cover from Republs (Miss Lindsey, Greenspan) and prominent Dems for nationalization. That's why he was vague about his plans.

Had Geithner proposed nationalization, Repubs would be all over the place, crying "Marxism".


It really isn't about economics, it's about politics. What plays?

Thursday, February 19, 2009


UPDATE: Oops, it just quit on me. Oh well.
I am watching Joe Stiglitz in a live feed explaining the economic meltdown.
Who woulda thunk it?
I am passing this along in case anyone out there also wants to sit through this.

McCain's Blonde

No, not Cindy. Vicki. Vicki Iseman.
Well, you probably don't remember that the NYT got all kinds of flak for a story about McCain's questionable relationship with the skinny young blong lobbyist. So, she sued.
So, today they settled. It appears she got off lucky.

It Just Gets Worse

I've been trying to digest the news that the corporation that I worked for for 20 years has just put out a memo notifiying employees that there would be across-the-board pay cuts, no more 401k match and some sort of suspension of the pension plan.
I've felt for a long time that the newspaper itself, in a little hamlet called Bremerton, Washington, was unlikely to last the year, but somehow this just seems much bigger, much more disastrous. Unforeseen, unanticipated. Well, disastrous.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's A Mess

and it's going to take a long, long time to clean up.
This story about the various legs of the Attorney General story is a tough read. It could have used some good editing. But still, it's a mess. And it's going to take a long, long time to clean up.
Krugman often describes himself as "terrified." However, the word "despair" is what first occurs to me.
It's not even about me any more. I may as well be dead and in the ground or scattered across the ocean.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Oscars

I loved liveblogging the ceremonies last year because the costumes were so enjoyable.
 Daniel Day Lewis and his wife were standouts. Tilda, ya gotta love 'er.
I have no idea who's
s going to win, though.
I leave that to Nate Silver.


I've viewed this photograph on Andrew Sullivan's blog several times today and remain stunned.
So I'm sharing.
Well, I thought I was. Linky instead.

This Guy, This Guy!! (Points, Jumps, Spits)

His name is Simon Johnson. I expect other people to find this stuff and pass it along to me in preferably, digestable bits, because I just don't have the smarts or the time. But I need to know. So do you.

In any case, the issue today is not whether we should nationalize.  Mr Paulson effectively nationalized the liabilities of major banks without putting in place any effective supervision of banks’ operations.  This is not a winning combination.
What we really need is to reprivatize - to return the banks to real private owners, preferably with strong voices on boards, and perhaps with controlling ownership stakes.  And we must, above all, make sure those owners have the incentive to break the banks into smaller, more manageable pieces, none of which are “too big to fail.”  As part of this process, some boards of directors will either have to go or be reshaped dramatically.  And new boards can decide who should or should not run these greatly restructured banks.

Top Blogs

Journalism's habit of making lists is always the butt of insider jokes, but Time has published an update on its old lists to tell us what the top 25 (and bottom 5) are. Mostly, they're right, because I read many myself and would read them all except there's just not time. Of course, I probably learned about them from Time in the first place.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook Dept.

I joined last month and in that period, two male friends dropped out.
Now, it's on to Twitter.

The number of US women over age 55 using Facebook grew by 175.3% since September 2008, making mature females among the fastest growing demographic groups on the social network, according to statistics released by independent blog Inside Facebook.

Frank Rich Twitters

and so do some of my former colleagues. Who is Frank Rich, you ask.
Here's my fave tweet so far:

  1. Oddly, Joaquin Phoenix has read the stimulus bill.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Always Take This Guy's Word

on just about anything, as well as Scott Horton's.
So when he tells us to look at Zadie Smith's piece on Obama, I pass it along even before reading it.
Tell me if I'm wrong.

Brutality As Lifestyle

Lest we forget, Andrew Sullivan quotes Darwin today:
"I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, Brazil, I heard the most pitiful screams, and could not suspect that some poor slave was being tortured ... Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have stayed in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal...I have seen a boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean. It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty," - Charles Darwin.

Blame Game Dept. : Chapter II

A while back I linked to The Guardian's list of 25 people to blame for the financial meltdown. As I recall, presidents Bush and Clinton weren't on it, but they may have been. Anyway, I'm not going back.
I consider it evidence of the deterioration of American journalism that Time mag, which holds a special place in my heart, decided to do the same list and included this guy:
The programming czar at Scripps Networks, which owns HGTV and other lifestyle channels, helped inflate the real estate bubble by teaching viewers how to extract value from their homes.
I mean, c'mon, some guy with a little cable power over at best a few mil. people, who probably were entertained but otherwise unable to even follow the advice, is one of the top 25. This is pathetic. This is American journalism. Okay, too inside baseball for you. I know, I know. I'm obsessed. But you heard it here first. You are not served well by any of these jokers.
P.S. I did like, however, that the list included some prominent people who are not old white guys. My feminism applauds the fact that stupid women and stupid minority males have almost as good a chance to succeed as the obvious.

Seize This! (thrusts, jams, chokes, heh)

A Republican senator (Lindsey Graham, R-Loserville) said today that he favors bank nationalization. I think there are too many syllables in that word for it to resonate. I like the word "seize." It just sounds so grabby. Like what a cat might do to a mouse.
Gram 'em, tear 'em apart, eat 'em. Gobble. Mmm.

Quote O' Teh Day

At TPM, but everybody's got it really.
Obama: I'm An Optimist -- But Not A Sap
In an interview with National Journal, President Obama said he is open to reaching across the aisle, but policy results matter. "My bottom line is not how pretty the process was," he said. "My bottom line was: Am I getting help to people who need it?" He also added: "I am an eternal optimist [but] that doesn't mean I'm a sap."

Boy, Obama Really Stepped In It This Time

Frank Rich at the NYT:
AM I crazy, or wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago? Obama had “all but lost control of the agenda in Washington,” declared Newsweek on Feb. 4 as it wondered whether he might even get a stimulus package through Congress. “Obama Losing Stimulus Message War” was the headline at Politico a day later. At the mostly liberal MSNBC, the morning host, Joe Scarborough, started preparing the final rites. Obama couldn’t possibly eke out a victory because the stimulus package was “a steaming pile of garbage."

Less than a month into Obama’s term, we don’t (and can’t) know how he’ll fare as president. The compromised stimulus package, while hardly garbage, may well be inadequate. Timothy Geithner’s uninspiring and opaque stab at a bank rescue is at best a place holder and at worst a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the TARP-Titanic, where he served as Hank Paulson’s first mate.
But we do know this much. Just as in the presidential campaign, Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The same crowd that said he was a wimpy hope-monger who could never beat Hillary or get white votes was played for fools again.