Happy New Year! Now
no one likes the bailout. (Salient
details are in this NYT graphic. )
House Republicans deadlocked the vote and rejected the bill this
Dow plunges 777 POINTS while you were "naying."
- That would be the
LARGEST one day drop for the Dow Jones um...EVER. It easily
surpassed the previous record, 685 points, set on the first day of trading
after September 11, 2001.
- But, no more voting today...everyone, "L'Shanah Tovah!
Have a great Rosh Hashanah...Ramadan Mubarak, my Muslim brothers...We'll
see you on Thursday!"
Economist points out, global ripples are already on their
way: "In the past week the financial crisis has erupted in even more
dangerous forms globally. The interbank-funds market has seized up and
even the most creditworthy corporate and financial firms are paying
punitive rates. Last week
Washington Mutual became the largest-ever American bank to fail.
three countries had to come to the rescue of Fortis, a Belgian
banking group, and
Britain did the same with a mortgage lender, Bradford & Bingley.
And on Monday
Citigroup agreed to buy most of the assets of Wachovia, another
beleaguered American bank, in a deal brokered by regulators."
- Europe feels the punch too: "Dutch-Belgian bank and
insurance giant Fortis NV was given a 11.2 billion euro ($16.4 billion)
lifeline to avert insolvency
as part of a wider bailout plan agreed to by Belgium, the Netherlands
and Luxembourg, officials said Sunday. Belgium's Prime Minister
Yves Leterme said the bailout shows account holders and investors that
Fortis will not be allowed to fall victim to the global credit crisis."
Looks like McCain's "Katrina-like help" really worked out well.
suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old rancher whose hand was
caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a
conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah
Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President.
The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.' Not being
familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.
The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you
come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued
'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up
there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you
just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.'
We Strain in Vain to Find McPalin's Brain
- Whoopsie. McCain appeared on
George Stephanopoulos' show on Sunday on ABC, and um... had to
retract the statement his esteemed running mate made the night before:
"Saturday night, while on a stop for cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia,
Palin was questioned by a Temple graduate student about whether
the U.S. should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan. 'If
that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in,
absolutely, we should,' Palin said."
- Hmmm, that sounds familiar... wait, what was it Barack
Obama said during
Friday night's debate? "If the United States has al Qaeda, bin
Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or
unwilling to act, then we should take them out."
- At that point,
McCain, you might remember, said testily, "Now, you don't do
that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to
do things, and you work with the Pakistani government."
McCain, gently corrected Palin's statements:
"She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we're not
going to do anything except in America's national security interest,"
McCain told ABC's George Stephanopoulos of Palin. "In all due respect,
people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are
being held, and then all of a sudden that's—that's a person's position…
This is a free country, but I don't think most Americans think that that's
a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin."
the man who can't remember the name of the new Pakistani President
(sending debate transcript typists into a confusion as to how to spell
this mythical "Kardari" --Kaddari? Kidari? Qardari?).
- Palin is still PERKY [read, "adorably catty"] saying of
debate with Biden. "I'm looking forward to meeting him, too. I've
never met him before, but
I've been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like,
in on the growing chorus of aghast conservatives, Ron Dreher, the Crunchy
Conservative, says, "Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking
points mechanically, not thinking. Palin's just babbling.
She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero....I remember the
morning I woke up in my college dorm room and went in to take my final
exam in my Formal Logic class. I knew I was unready. Massively unready.
And now I was going to be put to the ultimate test. I sat down in Dr.
Sarkar's class and resolved to wing it. Of course I failed the exam and
failed the class, because I had no idea what I was talking about. I wasn't
a bad kid, or even a stupid kid. I was just badly unprepared, and in way
over my head. Seeing the Palin interview on CBS, I thought of myself in
Dr. Sarkar's exam. But see, I was a college undergraduate who had the
chance to take the class again, which I did, and passed (barely). I wasn't
running for vice president of the United States."
is safely tucked away prepping for debate someplace in one of the McCains'
three or four homes in
Sedona, AZ out of the
ten McCain homes
- In the Wall Street Journal they report
that "the McCain campaign aims to halt what it sees as
a perceived decline in the crispness and precision of Gov. Palin's
latest remarks as well as a fall in recent polls." "'It's
time to let Palin be Palin -- and let it all hang out,' said Scott Reed, a
- McCain' spokeswoman saying essentially that
if Gwen Ifill comes up with questions that are 60% foreign policy and
40% economy that it's unfair to Palin.
Mitt Romney joins in with a backhanded defense:
"Look she wasn't selected by John McCain because she's an expert on
foreign policy." [Yeah. We got that.] "John McCain's the expert on
foreign policy..." [Um...he is? John, can you say "Ahmadinejad" one
- Everyone keeps
fact-checking the Kissinger lines from Friday's Presidential debate.
I guess only
a few people out there even bother to ask anymore whether
Kissinger should be everybody's favorite foreign policy guru.
LA Times reports: "Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the
foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by
insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an
Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after
scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct -- the teacher said."
That's TOTALLY true. I saw it on TV once.
Palin, going for the all-important Sleestack vote. It's paying off: McCain
is now polling at 52% among Sleestacks likely to vote.
- Bonus round: Spot the dinosaur on the ticket.
On the Road again
- Newsweek writes, "The three tests of recent
weeks—the vice presidential nominations, the conflict in Georgia and now
the financial crisis—have raised, in a serious way not always evident in
presidential politics, the key question: how would each man lead?
is that if you are among the 18 percent or so of undecided voters (the
current figure in most national polls), we think you now have more than
enough on which to decide. McCain and Obama see the world
differently, and you can see how; they behave in their own skins
differently, and you can see how. The drama of the autumn has served
perhaps the noblest end we could hope for, shedding light on how each
man would govern. McCain is passionate, sometimes impulsive and
unpredictable; Obama is precise, occasionally withdrawn and methodical."
- Plus, McCain's oft-cited war story with a slightly
new twist: "In his most recent book, Hard Choices, McCain
describes how, on his last bombing mission over Hanoi, he heard the
warning tone of an enemy SAM missile locking on to his plane. Bravely,
or rashly, McCain did not take evasive maneuvers but rather kept on
flying straight in an attempt to deliver his bombs on target. The
missile blew off his right wing, and he spent the next five years in
campaign marches on.
Obama and Biden stood in the pouring rain to talk with 26,000 Virginians.
Gallup Daily had
Obama up three points Saturday. and by this morning,
he was up by EIGHT points. I know it's meaningless, but it make
me feel better. The
shift has been more pronounced though.
Enjoy the trending...
Presidential Debate transcript and video in that cool
interactive feature on the New York Times.
57 million viewers took in the event.
factchecks throughout the debate, but more fun is Think Progress'
liveblog of the debate, which includes a few fabulous "Let's go to the
videotape" YouTube links.
nice calm, cool guy debating an
angry, old grouch. Or is he?
McCain's song and dance.
The upshot from Politico.
McCain calls Pakistan's president Kadari? (his name is Zardari). And he should have practiced saying
Ahmadinejad more. Even Sarah Palin managed it better. (A waggish
commentator notes that McCain could just practice by saying "I may need a
Obama the winner: ABC's George Stephanopoulos, pollster Frank Luntz on Fox, Slate's
John Dickerson, Time magazine's Mark Halperin (Obama A-, McCain
B-), pollster and Clinton adviser
Dick Morris, CBS News
instant poll (40% Obama - 22% McCain - 38% tie) and
CNN post-debate poll (51% Obama-38% McCain). Also, Independents
in the MediaCurves focus group "gave
the debate to Obama 61-39. They also think he won every individual
More poll results.
Arianna gives style points to Obama, "who came across as relaxed and
gracious (too gracious; enough with the repeated claims that "John is
right"). McCain looked like he forgot to take his Metamucil."
- Huffpo rounds up some
more post-debate commentary from editorial boards.
And an observation from ThinkProgress: "ABC's
Charlie Gibson and PBS's David Brooks and Mark Shields note that McCain
never looked at Obama during the debate."
- Though we saw an awful lot of
Joe Biden after the debate, commenting on how Barack Obama did,
where was Governor Palin weighing in with her commentary on her
running mate's performance ?
The National Review's blog "The Stump" quotes Wolf
Blitzer on CNN: "We've been getting some emails from viewers out
there wondering why we spent some time interviewing Joe Biden, the
Democratic vice presidential nominee and not
Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. We would
have loved to interview--we'd still love to interview
Sarah Palin. Unfortunately we asked, we didn't get that
interview...We're hoping that
Sarah Palin will join us at some point down the road."
Tina Fey strikes again with another pitch perfect "Sarah Palin" in an
interview with Katie Couric. The wacky thing is that she's not
Sarah Palin, she's just quoting her.
Even the National Review's Kathleen Parker, once "in the tank"
Sarah Palin, now says, "As we've seen and heard more from John
McCain's running mate,
it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or
not, she doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make
Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her
Oh, and in case you're not
outraged enough about Palin's utter insensitivity as a human
being, note that while
Palin was mayor in Wasilla, the town began
charging rape victims for the costs of their own rape kits.
Katie interviewing Sarah Palin
...hurts...eyes...to...watch...: COURIC: You've cited Alaska's
proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What
did you mean by that? PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime
border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the
land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a
comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you
know? Reporters-- COURIC: Mock? PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's
the word, yeah. (HuffPo)
the special irony:
Alaska's governors DO often enjoy more contact with Russian officials
because Anchorage is the base for the
an organization representing leaders and sub-leadership from countries
around the Arctic Circle including Russia, Finland, Iceland and Canada,
Japan, China and South Korea. The Seattle Times reports: "Yet under Palin, the
state government — without consultation — reduced its annual financial
support to the Northern Forum to $15,000 from $75,000, according to
Priscilla Wohl, the group's executive director. That forced the forum's
Anchorage office to go without pay for two months. Palin — unlike the
previous administrations of Gov. Frank Murkowski and Gov. Tony Knowles —
also stopped sending representatives to Northern Forum's annual meetings,
including one last year for regional governors held in the heart of Russia's
oil territory." Great. Twenty years of glasnost down the drain. Plus,
she doesn't even have the brains to mention that this organization
exists when the Russia question comes up.
Palin worked her way up to answering FOUR whole questions from the
Brown goes OFF on the McCain camp's sexism in shielding Sarah Palin from
the Big Bad Media: "Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop
treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any
moment...you claim she is ready to be one heart beat away form the
presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of
Fox News reporters are starting to get testy about the Palin Media
- Maureen Dowd refers to Palin's recent rush through Top
World Leaders plus a bonus Henry Kissinger Round as "speed
they can't leave Palin unattended: the
BIG interview, with Katie Couric of CBS playing "Stump
the Candidate." Particularly delicious is the moment when Couric
asks Palin to cite "specific examples in [McCain's] 26 years [in the
Senate] of pushing for more regulation."
also does a series called Presidential questions, in which she asks the
same question of Obama and McCain. One of the questions was "When
is it appropriate to lie to the American people?"
Troopergate Update: The Plank pointed out that even the
AP newswire is getting snarky, putting out this lead in a story
covering the investigation: "Less than a week after balking at the
Alaska Legislature's investigation into her alleged abuse of power, Gov.
Sarah Palin on Monday indicated she will cooperate with a separate probe
run by people she can fire."
- "Is Sarah Palin qualified?" poll on PBS NOW's
I sent it out, and many of you have sent it to me. Well, the poll,
which only ran a week in early September on PBS' homepage, became
the single most viewed page on their entire site, even though nothing
links to it now that the homepage link is gone. But it's remained so
popular via email that
was moved to post this notice. As many people noticed, voting "da
Chicago way" seemed to be entirely possible, and apparently was until
yesterday, when they embedded cookies so you can only vote once per
bank was seized last night. Wow! I'm like, part of
of the biggest saving and loan failure of all time!
in a good old classic run on the bank,
WaMu customers went in this morning to demand their $10 back.
Following the largest US bank failure in history. JP Morgan Chase acquired
WaMu after the bank was seized Thursday night, and all operations
continued as normal on Friday morning, even though depositors pulled $17
billion from the bank. (I don't know why those instant stock quotes
embedded in text of the above article bother me so much. Makes me a little
Dealbook blog's moment-to-moment
Do you have money in Wachovia-- which may be "Citi-chovia
Traveling Group" by the time I get done typing this sentence?
A scorecard in case you've lost track of who lost what and who bought what
in the last, oh, week and a half.
looks like we're buying it, folks.
To the right, a humorous juxtaposition of articles on
The New York Times has an interesting assessment of the real
reasons why AIG (too big to fail) got a government bailout deal when
Lehman (Let the market decide) got the "Go Fish!": "As the group, led by
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., pondered the collapse of one of
America's oldest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, a more dangerous
threat emerged: American International Group, the world's largest insurer,
was teetering. A.I.G. needed billions of dollars to right itself and had
suddenly begged for help.The only Wall Street chief executive
participating in the meeting was Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Mr.
Paulson's former firm. Mr. Blankfein had particular reason for concern.
Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that
had seemed immune to its rivals' woes, was A.I.G.'s largest trading
partner, according to six people close to the insurer who
requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of
the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in
Goldman's side, several of these people said."
By the way, David Lazarus in the LA Times notes that : "As our
friends in the financial sector were passing the hat among taxpayers last
week for $700 billion in bailouts to cover their crappy mortgage
they were simultaneously condemning the House of Representatives' passage
of a "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights," which aims to crack
down on some of the industry's more troublesome practices."
A look at the Argentinian Financial Crisis in the early
2000's. Hmmm. Hints of what's ahead?
$700 Billion-ish: From Forbes: "In fact, some
of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury
would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. 'It's not based on any
particular data point,' a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday.
'We just wanted to choose a really large number.'"
Krugman weighs in on the Paulson plan and the alternative that
McCain basically blew up: "So the grown-up thing is to do something to
rescue the financial system. The big question is,
are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to
Someone has at last used the "F" word in describing this bailout, and
it ain't "finance": "Our government and its owners appear to be
testing how much the American public will tolerate. A few years ago, no
one could have imagined that the silent majority would quietly accept
thefts of this magnitude from a government that stopped tiny payments to
single mothers with poor children in the name of welfare reform because
the program's $10 billion cost was breaking the federal budget. This isn't
socialism, it's fascism."
- At TPM, mswogger has come to the same
"Frankly, that word is fascism. It's no secret that corporations
are fascist entities themselves, where decisions are made by a select few
that can affect millions of people who have no say in the matter. But
this government-corporate 'partnership' (for lack of a better term) is the
epitome of fascism. As Mussolini and his partner Giovanni Gentile
wrote in 1932, 'We are, in other words, a state which controls all
forces acting in nature. We control political forces, we control moral
forces we control economic forces, therefore we are a full-blown
- The Swedes watch as the US basically copies a page from
Couldn't we learn something from their financial crisis in the 90s?
He Came, He Saw, He Screwed it Up
the NY Times this morning, hints of NEW! FRESH!
headaches for the McCain campaign: "Mr. McCain portrays himself as a
Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to
lobbyists as "birds of prey."
Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers
have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests —
including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker
purveyors." The Times also has a graphic with
array of McCain connections to the gambling lobby.
Although you might expect that (with the "right"
bailout plan being so all-fire important and all) that after the debate
was done, John McCain would race to Nancy Pelosi's office to be there in
person, all night, at the negotiating table in Washington. After the
debate, he was on the Hill Saturday for about 90 minutes according to the
Washington Post (who
also deliciously describes "chaos" in the McCain camp during pre-debate
preparations): "McCain did not go to Capitol Hill, preferring to
make calls from his headquarters. 'He can effectively do what he needs
to do by phone,' [McCain adviser Mark] Salter said. 'He's calling
members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping
out as he can.'" Oh.
Maybe after dinner?
Politico reports that Saturday night, McCain was at the very chic DC
CityZen. Check out their
$110 tasting menu. I guess, since his "services are no longer
required after he um, achieved bipartisanship last Thursday, he can settle
into a nice "Sweet Onion Chiboust with a Sarawak Pepper Sable and English
Thyme Broth...." (Maybe I should check it out if I can ever afford
fine-dining again...) Hey, John,
"arugula-eating" is cheaper.
McCain hard at work ruining BOTH Democrats' and fellow Republicans' work. "Sen.
Chris Dodd, after leaving the White House, suggested on CNN that the tenuous
process could be derailed by what he viewed as McCain's political motives. "What
happened here, basically, if you want an honest appraisal of the
thing, we have been spending a lot of time and I am tired. I have spent
almost seven straight days at this in trying to come out with a workout plan
for our economy a rescue plan," said Dodd. "What this looked like to me was
a rescue plan for John McCain for two hours and took us away from the
work we are trying to do today. Serious people trying to do serious
work to come up with an answer."
After the meeting at the White House,
Barack Obama had this to say: "what we shouldn't do is to try to get
everything done in this package. What we should be doing is following the
clear principles, that taxpayers are protected, that we have oversight,
that taxpayers are going to get their money back, and that the housing
crisis is going to be dealt with as well."
are running wild: "One GOP lawmaker, referring to his defiant colleagues,
asked rhetorically: 'For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do
you accept a Great Depression?' But
if the party was looking for leadership, it did not find it in its
presidential nominee. 'Bush is no diplomat,' said a Democratic
staffer, 'but he's Cardinal freaking Richelieu compared to
McCain. McCain couldn't negotiate an agreement on dinner among a
family of four without making a big drama with himself at the
heroic center of it. And then they'd all just leave to make
themselves a sandwich.'"
Republican source, with direct knowledge of the negotiations, said that
GOPers and McCain were 'scared about the press perception' that they
were at fault for 'blowing the thing up.' The takeover of
Washington Mutual on Thursday combined with the continued downturn in the
futures and credit markets "also scared them," to the point that a bailout
deal seemed within the realm of possibility 'over the weekend.'"
conservatives are saying: Whuh-HUH? "It
just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology,"
said Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain earlier in
- US News and World Report's
John Farrell assesses Obama's handling of the "Political Circus comes to
town" as Presidential, whereas..."Given the Republican nominee's
untethered (there's that word again) performance in the last three
weeks, during which he has swung wildly from Oblivious to Panicky by way of
Blurt and Bluster,
McCain's performance comes as no surprise."
The Post is no more sympathetic: "John McCain's sudden intervention
in Washington's deliberations over the Wall Street bailout
could not have been more out of sync with what was actually happening...McCain's
boisterous intervention -- and particularly his grandstanding on the debate
-- was less a presidential act than the tactical ploy of a man worried that
his chances of becoming president might be slipping away."
Of course, there's always the nutcase.
Steve Huntley says in the Chicago Sun-Times: "What we are
talking about here is leadership in a time of crisis...Be it campaign
finance regulation, immigration reform or climate change, he has never
hesitated to take a leadership position on an issue he sees as critical to
Hmmm, who is Huntley? I seem to remember that name... Oh
yeah, he was
Robert Novak's editor, the one who let
Novak publish the column that leaked Valerie Plame's identity.
And what is with McCain's constant lies? Is it self-delusion? Jonathan Chait
at the New Republic has some interesting perspectives: "McCain
has contempt for anybody who stands between him and the presidency.
McCain views himself as the ultimate patriot. He loves his country so much
that he cannot let it fall into the hands of an unworthy rival. (They all
turn out to be unworthy.) Viewed in this way, doing whatever it takes to win
is not an act of selfishness but an act of patriotism."
David Letterman Corner
Letterman spent just about two thirds of the show going ON about
McCain not only suspending his campaign, but worse, canceling his
appearance on Letterman --telling Dave that
he had to get on a plane and RUSH back to Washington to fix this bailout
thing. But then (insult on injury!), there was Johnny Mac, appearing on
Katie Couric's show with an exclusive interview--at the same exact moment
he was supposed to be on Dave's couch! Through the magic of TeeVee, Dave
patched in a live feed to the CBS News studio so we could all watch So
You Think You Can Dance and American Idol makeup artist
Tifanie White was applying her $5000 magic to the candidate
while he made small talk with Katie Couric. Oops.
Dave! Turns out McCain's STILL in New York this morning--
speaking at Bill Clinton's Global Initiative! Damn, baby--dissed
- You might recall that
was on Letterman that McCain ANNOUNCED that he was running for president
back in February 2007.
Dave points out
that if the economy is in such a tailspin, and you personally must be in
Washington to fix it (which you don't), why don'tcha leave your
second-in-command VP nominee in charge of campaigning and get on your
flight? Oh, Dave, Dave, Dave...you
forget that he can't leave her unattended even for 30 seconds.
is not done with McCain yet. On Thursday night, Dave
said he felt like a "patriot" to let McCain off his commitment
to deal with the economy and "now I'm feeling like an ugly
date...That's what I feel like, I feel like an ugly date," he
said. "I feel
used. I feel cheap. I feel sullied."
execs were reportedly upset that
Dave Letterman patched into internal video feeds to show John
McCain getting a makeup job while chatting with Katie Couric when he was
supposed to be on Dave's show. Who cares?
It was great TV.
Dave still on McCain about ditching him. "McCain spokeswoman
Nicole Wallace said Thursday that the campaign 'felt this wasn't a night
for comedy...We deeply regret offending Mr. Letterman, but our candidate's
priority at this moment is to focus on this crisis,' Wallace said on NBC's
Colbert and Jon Stewart hilariously
recreate the Michelle & Barack Obama cover from the New Yorker.
And in case you didn't see it, watch a pretty savvy Chris Rock on
Larry King. (Part
Part 3) "The choice isn't Republican or Democrat. The choice is
you got a guy that's worth $150 million with 12 houses against a guy who's
worth a million dollars with one house.The guy with one house really cares
about losing a house, because he is homeless. The other guy can lose five
houses and still got a bunch of houses. Does this make any sense? Am I the
only one that sees this?"
Wanda Sykes goes OFF on Sarah Palin. "They say, 'Oh, she's meeting
with the world leaders.' But there's no reporters. I'm like, is she meeting
with the world leaders, or did you take her to the Epcot Center? Let her
drink around the world? You know, because I've done that. Maybe I should be
Secretary of State..."
Brown, We Love You: "Seriously,
what were you thinking?"
This season's Fahrenheit 9/11? Oliver
Stone's W., Based on a True Story will open on October 17.
Here's the official
site with a trailer. Frankly, I think I'm still too close to all
of this, because while intellectually I recognize that it's funny, I'm
still crying. No, no, it's okay, I'll be alright. I'll be better when
Obama wins in November. It won't hurt so much next January when I see
Obama's right hand in the air taking the oath of office. And when he
finally sits down in that
Oval Office (after it's fumigated, of course), I might be able
to watch the trailer without tears of impotent rage streaming
down my nose.
An analysis of the overarching "story board" for this election
from Michael Cohen: "After back-to-back election cycles in which
Democratic nominees seemed unable to maintain a compelling narrative for
their campaign, Mr. Obama has shown a level of message discipline that
German police arrested suspected terrorists on a KLM flight:
"German police raided a plane in Cologne just before it was taking off
Friday and arrested two ethnic Somalis, saying they found a suicide note
that claimed the men wanted to fight a holy war and die in a terror
attack." Have a good flight.
Oh, and incidentally, lest
we forget...Rick Davis, the one who McCain says suspended all activity
with his lobbying firm?
still the treasurer and corporate director of the firm.
Rick Davis, recipient of the Freddie Mac "Take this $30,000 and Once More
Around the Regulations, My Good Man" Championship. Maybe you inferred that
he had STOPPED getting money from the mortgage giants back in 2005? Well,
new information shows that
Davis' consulting firm has been getting paid $15,000 a month THROUGH
LAST AUGUST until, you know, Freddie was taken over by the US.
new ad alleges Obama got advice from former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin
Raines, which both Obama and Raines say isn't true. In the
ever-burgeoning "Isn't it Rich?" category,
turns out that McCain's CAMPAIGN MANAGER, Rick Davis "was paid
more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group
set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them
against stricter regulations."
Wall Street Journal notes too that
"a massive nonpartisan campaign to mobilize Hispanics to register to vote
could create a surge of Latino voters, especially in several swing
states, which would likely benefit Democratic presidential candidate
insights into why McCain "suspended" his campaign (Such a hard time typing
that with a straight face.)
NY Times yesterday with snapshots from McCain's suspended-in-the-air Crazy
Horse maneuver: "Senator Harry Reid of
Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, said Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama
should not return to Washington and inject presidential politics into the
bailout negotiations....'What, does McCain think the Senate will still be
working at 9 p.m. Friday?' Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania said in
an interview, referring to the scheduled start time of the debate. 'I
think this is all political...' Mr. Obama did say with a glint of humor
that both he and Mr. McCain were capable of engaging in the debate and
negotiations in Congress at the same time. 'If it turns out that we need
to be in Washington, we've both got big planes — we've painted our slogans
on the sides of them,' Mr. Obama said. 'They can get us from Washington,
D.C., to Mississippi fairly quickly.'"
trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign,"
said Rep. Barney Frank. And they add this delicately worded barb
from Republican Chris Dodd (who seems annoyed, because "Dag-nab-it, HE'S
ACTUALLY BEEN WORKING ON THIS PLAN!"): "I'm delighted that John is
expressing himself on this issue," said Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate
Banking Committee. "I have heard from Obama numerous occasions these last
I have never heard from John McCain on the issue... I'm just
worried a little bit that sort of politicizing this problem, sort of
flying in here, I'm beginning to think this is more of a rescue plan for
John McCain and not a rescue plan for the economy."
at Slate makes several observations about the ploy: "Even more than
his selection of Sarah Palin as running mate,
feels like a wild improvisation someone in the McCain team mapped out on
his chest: OK, you run to the fire hydrant, cut left, and then
when he gets to the Buick, John, you heave it."
Street Journal refuses to suspend disbelief. Their editorial says:
"Last we checked, the President of the United States was still George W.
Bush, the Secretary of the Treasury was still Henry Paulson, the Chairman
of the Federal Reserve was still Ben Bernanke, and Congress still had 533
members not running for President who are at least nominally
competent to debate and pass legislation.
So count us as mystified by Senator John McCain's decision yesterday to
suspend his campaign and call for a postponement in Friday's first
Presidential debate so that he and Barack Obama can work out a
consensus bill to stabilize the financial system. This is supposed to be
evidence of leadership?"
says he'll be there on Friday, and if McCain is a no-show, he'll do a
one-on-one with Lehrer or make it into a town-hall.
did you know
John McCain wants to cancel the debate on Friday?
wait! There's more! He also wants to
suspend his campaign so he can work on the $700 billion bailout
- But wait! There's more!
He hasn't even read the plan yet-- and it's only
three pages long. (Fer the love of Mike! I've read
it -- didn't understand it, but I've READ it.)
- But wait! There's more! Senate members are
THEY'VE ALREADY WORKED OUT THE PLAN. (Barney Frank says that
McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona who has spent much of the year away
from the Capitol campaigning, could end up slowing down work on the bill.
The Massachusetts Democrat noted that a meeting on Capitol Hill on
Thursday will be interrupted for a "photo op" at the White House with
congressional Democrats and Republicans as well as Bush.")
- But wait! There's more!
He also want to suspends the VP Debate too. Ohhhhhhh... I get
CLEARLY, he is doing his level best to
LOSE THIS ELECTION, and the
46% of you people who insist on supporting him through thick
and thin--you're MESSING UP his plan!!! (Okay,
maybe it's only 43% of you.)
when you've gotten up off the floor, there are people trying to make the
argument that this was
somehow "brilliant strategy" on the part of McCain. Seriously.
- Only if McCain's brilliant strategy was to
start another Twitter Meme (Yep,
here's my contribution...)
Cancel the debate Friday?
Obama says, Uh... Let me think...No. "There are times for politics
and there are times to rise above politics and do what's right." But he
said he saw no need to cancel the debate, scheduled for Friday night at
the University of Mississippi. "This
is exactly the time when people need to hear from the candidates,"
Mr. Obama said, adding: "Part of the president's job is to deal with more
than one thing at once. In my mind it's more important than ever."
League of Women Voters has a
handy worksheet that you can print out and use to take notes
while watching the debate.
exactly one year to the day since the Democratic candidates held their own
debate at Dartmouth, with Tim Russert moderating. God, I miss
Tim. If there's one thing we need now, it's his no-nonsense,
well-organized chap, Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
warns Obama to be ready for the certain lines of attack on Friday
at the Presidential debate. (HuffPo)
- " John McCain was in Scranton today (apparently
Scranton is the epicenter of the political universe these days)
claiming to have been a long supporter of U.S. involvement in the
Northern Ireland peace process - which just happens to be completely
Max Bergmann points out what McCain has "forgotten" about his positions on
Northern Ireland. (HuffPo)
- Bergmann quotes Congressman
Richard Neal's summary: "By contrast, John McCain has spent years
ridiculing and minimizing U.S. efforts to help resolve the Troubles. In an
article in Foreign Affairs, he said President Bill Clinton's efforts were
"romantic" and accused him of undertaking his tireless work for peace in
order to curry favor with Irish Americans. He criticized the decision to
grant Gerry Adams a visa, a development now considered crucial to the
success of the peace process. He claimed our role in Northern Ireland was
severely damaging our relationship with Great Britain. Yet in a speech
before Congress in 2003, British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly
thanked America for its support of the peace process. Quite simply, in the
long march towards peace and stability in Northern Ireland, John McCain
has been on the wrong side of history every step of the way."
Campaign Trail In/S/Anity: Part Three
Bill Clinton on
the Daily Show.
Rock has some pointed remarks to make about the former Prez's
tepid support of Obama.) But liberal or conservative, Republican or
Democrat, surely we all can admit that he was a sight smarter and a more
effective manager than our current president.
Uprising, is now available to download for free
camp is peeved about being called "liars" all the time: "Sen. John
McCain's top campaign aides convened a conference call today to complain
of being called "liars." They pressed the media to scrutinize specific
elements of Sen. Barack Obama's record. But the
call was so
rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact that it may
have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to
McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy."
Will is body-slamming McCain in every column over at the Washington
Post "It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama
is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of
his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited
to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great
cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?" (WaPo)
also points out what I've been saying all along: "Is not McCain's party
now conducting the most leftist administration in American history?
The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury
Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue
program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism,
this is necessary." (WaPo)
fascinating deconstruction of what "costs $700 billion" really means,
from the Dealbook blog on the NYTimes. "The $700 billion is only
the maximum amount the government can hold of these assets at any one
time. In fact, over time, the government may purchase far more than $700
billion of securities, as it repeatedly purchases and then sells these
assets. Finally...based on how the bill accounts for the costs of these
assets, Mr. Paulson can conceivably spend much more than $700 billion at
any one time under the bill's current wording."
on everyone's favorite governor: Andrew
Sullivan at the Atlantic sticks to his guns on the
Twelve Lies of Sarah Palin. "Just for the record, I asked an
intern to go back and double fact-check the twelve documented lies that
Sarah Palin has told on the public record. These are not hyperbolic claims
or rhetorical excess. They are assertions of fact that are
demonstrably untrue and remain uncorrected."
not that we didn't know this about Sarah Palin, but David Talbot at
Salon recounts how
Palin's mayoral election in Wasilla took on tones of nastiness that
echo the current campaign. "According to some political observers
in Alaska, this pattern -- exploiting 'old-boy' mentors and then turning
against them for her own advantage -- defines Sarah Palin's rise to power.
Again and again, Palin has charmed powerful political patrons, and then
rejected them when it suited her purposes."
the press have totally deteriorated for the erstwhile "Straight Talk
folks decided today that they wanted the world to see
photos of Palin looking presidential-like while meeting with world
leaders at the UN, but they didn't want any pesky reporter-types
actually asking her questions or going editorial about her meetings. So
they banned the editorial pool reporters from covering the event, and
planned to allow only a cameraperson.The
Media, who've been kept on a short leash around Palin, finally rebelled.
CNN (who had the designated pool cameraperson)
threatened to pull their crew entirely before McCain's campaign
According to a
study by Women's Campaign Forum Foundation
women have donated twice as many of their dollars to Obama as they have
to McCain."$75.3 million to Sen. Obama and $34.2 million to Sen.
McCain through July 31, according to the report. In 2004, women sent $58.1
million to Mr. Bush and $57.1 million to Mr. Kerry." (WSJ)
further notes some...um...interesting points...
- Women are heavy users of social-networking and campaign
Web sites that put them in a position to make online donations. (What?
What're you lookin' at me for? So I use Facebook and I "became a
fan of Obama")
- 92% of the women who responded visited campaign Web
sites (How else am I supposed to get information for my e-mail Rants?)
- 79% signed up for email news from campaigns (Hey, I
signed up for McCain's emails too.. just to see how lame their online
- 60% signed online petitions.
(It only takes five seconds)
- Of the women who made two or more donations in the last
year, 28% gave $50 or more. (But it was in $5 increments)
- The frequent female donors also tended to be more
active using online resources to recruit supporters to their candidates.
- Four of five of these frequent donors forwarded emails
or news about politics to friends, (...ummm...)
- while 37% asked friends to make donations. (Hey, I
only say that as a public service--to combat depression with donation
- Here's the link to the website to
donate to Obama's
campaign, by the way. In case you need...you know...a little
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
goes after Obama's comment about the McCain Social Security privatization
plan. "In Daytona Beach, Obama said that 'if my opponent had his
way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social
Security tied up in the stock market this week.' The plan proposed by
President Bush and supported by McCain in 2005 would not have allowed
anyone born before 1950 to invest any part of their Social Security taxes
in private accounts. Obama would have been correct to say that many
workers under age 58 would have had some portion of their Social Security
benefits affected by the current market turmoil – if they had chosen to
participate. And market drops would be a worry for those who retire in
future decades. But current retirees would not have been affected." (Factcheck)
Cash for Trash
for Trash" is how NY Times columnist Paul Krugman is
referring to the bailout plan. And in case you were wondering
if the rest of America has noticed that we just bailed out giant firms
who took on more debt than they could handle (too big to fail),
while ignoring the average Joes who took on more debt than they could
handle (not big enough to notice) an article in today's Washington Post:
"This may be a Main Street bailout backlash in the making. The details of
the financial crisis are still hard for most people to follow -- what with
talk of exotic "derivatives" known as "credit-default swaps" and so on --
but the central fact of the matter hasn't been lost on anyone in this
Northern Virginia community: The taxpayers are on the hook for the bad
judgment of others. And they say they don't like it. They didn't break it,
but now they've bought it."And away they go....
What does a trillion look like exactly? If you were to stack up
$1 trillion in $1000 bills, the pile would reach past the troposphere,
through the stratosphere into the thermosphere.
course, the $1000 bill
has not been printed since 1945 and not circulated since 1969, when Nixon halted their
circulation in an effort to fight organized crime. Incidentally they
featured the face of Grover Cleveland, a Democratic president whose second
term coincided with the Panic of 1893 in which speculation (railroads, not
mortgages) contributed to a series of bank failures (sound familiar?).
Stanley and Goldman have changed their status to bank holding companies.
"The decision means that the Goldman and Morgan Stanley will be able not
only to set up commercial bank subsidiaries to take deposits, giving them
a major resource base, but they will also have the same access as other
commercial banks to the Fed's emergency loan program."
Campaign Trail In/S/Anity--Part Deux
McCain's love-hate relationship with the New York Times.
"'Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a
journalistic organization,' McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt said on a
conference call. 'It is a pro-Obama organization that every day attacks
the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. Palin and excuses
Sen. Obama.' That metamorphosis from what it once was must have happened
awfully fast. McCain granted the paper an interview on the economy less
than 24 hours before Schmidt sought to discredit it."
Which is funnier, that
Fox News has demanded that McCain pull an ad using the voice of Major
Garrett, one of their correspondents...or that their reason is
that "As Mr. Garrett is a non-partisan news correspondent covering the
Obama campaign for Fox News, it is highly inappropriate, among other
things, of your campaign to use him in your ad"? Or that, in another "Yes,
I'm TRYING to lose this election!" move,
McCain's campaign refuses to take Garrett's voice out.
- Palin is rapidly losing political support in her homestate of Alaska.
Jonathan Alterman tries to hang on as the Straight-Talk Express veers
all over the road. (Newsweek)
jumped on a story from the NY Post :
The charge -- that Obama asked the Iraqis to delay signing off on a
"Status of Forces Agreement," thus delaying U.S. troop withdrawal and
interfering in U.S. foreign policy -- has been picked up on the Internet,
talk radio and by Republicans, including the McCain campaign, which seized
on the story as possible evidence of duplicity. (NYPost)
- BUT, "Attendees
of the meeting back Obama's account, including not just Sen. Jack
Reed, D-R.I., but Hagel, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers
from both parties. Officials of the Bush administration who
were briefed on the meeting by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad also support
Obama's account and dispute the Post story and McCain attack."
Obama seems more bemused by McCain' attacks than anything else.
Obama also quoted McCain's comment in Contingencies
magazine last year: "Opening
up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as
we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more
choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of
Obama's comment: "So let
me get this straight – he wants to run health care like they've been
running Wall Street. Well, Senator, I know some folks on Main Street who
aren't going to think that's such a good idea.
the candidates have responded to the financial turmoil could be used as a
barometer for how they'd handle a crisis as President. (Huffpo)
The guy who shoots his own mouth off. (YouTube)
And apparently owns 13 cars (Newsweek)
delivered another blow to McCain on This Week with George
Stephanopoulos: "I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that
when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience," said
Will. "The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm
and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting
vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the
most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox,
and for no apparent reason...
was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate...John McCain
showed his personality this week." (ABC)
The NY Times Magazine with an interesting
article that examines
how Obama's teaching style reflects his approach to the political
process in general. (NYT)
What if Obama consulted another past President of a
Maureen Dowd consults with the show's writer Aaron Sorkin for details
on a mythical Bartlett-Obama meeting. (NYT)
For some desperately silly fun, a
YouTube mashup, "Baracky II"
- Even Alaskan Malamutes think Sarah Palin is insane. (I'd be
careful Baron-- you look a bit like a wolf...keep your eyes on the sky for
aerial hunters... After
she gets crazy African healer
Pastor Muthee to dispell your doggy demonic spells of course.)
case you missed last night's Saturday Night Live sketch--written in
part by Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken-- it was hilarious.
John McCain approving all kinds of outrageous attack ads.(HuffPo)
The English-language tape of that interview for a Miami
the one in which McCain seemed to diss Spain's Prime
Minister Zapatero, is now available online.
In a recent trail-stop in Michigan,
Would-be Fearless Leader McCain mixed up the National Guard and the Army:
(quote starts 5:00 into the clip) "I also know, if I might remind you,
that she is commander of the Alaska National Guard. In fact, you may know
that on Sept. 11 a large contingent of the Alaska Guard deployed to Iraq
and her son happened to be one of them. So I think she understands our
national security challenges..." The ceremony Palin attended at Fort
Wainwright last week didn't involve the Alaska National Guard. Palin's son
is in the Army, and his unit - 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th
Infantry Division - deployed to Iraq.
Ayn Rand "The Sound You Are Hearing is the
Free-Market Squelch" Alert:
- The new Bush Administration plan seems to propose, in
three short pages, the process by which the Federal Government
will nationalize--that is, seize-- any failing financial institutions, for
the low, low price of $700 billion.
- Rep. Barney Frank thought they could have this little $700 BILLION baby
assembled baked and cooling by oh, say the end of next week.
- AIG is officially out of the Dow Jones Industrial Club,
the list of 30 companies considered to be bellwethers for the market.
replaced by Kraft Foods.
- Edward Chancellor, sort of eerily described the situation and the
outcome we see today admirably in his 2007 article Ponzi Nation.
- In case you follow him, the NY Times' resident
Paul Krugman is also wary of the bailout procedure. "This could
turn into the wrong kind of rescue — a bailout of stockholders as well as
Columnist Frank Rich always put thing into perspective, check
out his column today which note that Mccain's is "not the résumé that a
presidential candidate wants to advertise as America faces its worst
financial crisis since the Great Depression. That's why the main thrust of
the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic
Obama on Economy
new ad has, as
Wonkette notes, actual words and thoughts!
what we're all suspecting, that the
current crisis is related to deregulation. "Eight years of
policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and
regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring
middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial
crisis since the Great Depression."
elves in the "Ad-making" workshop
must work overtime
on days like these. Obama's campaign already has
an ad out attacking McCain's statement about the
"fundamentals of the economy" being sound.
general consensus seem to be that this economic focus only boosts Obama,
as the current woes are seen as tied to the Bush Administration.
New polls show Obama climbing again, as would-be voters
figure out that Palin is both unqualified and not actually all that
cute, that McCain has been lying and is possibly off his rocker, and
that Obama doesn't look like Jesus, but just might have a BETTER plan to
get the country in order. Jeez, poll-ees, whoever the heck you are,
welcome back to sanity! (CNN)
- If you really like driving yourself insane over voter
indecision, watch the red and blue flash back and forth in this
animated map showing polling data for the last three months.
that the Obama Campaign intends to fight the "lose your house, lose your
vote" scheme in Michigan, and
any signs of voter disenfranchisement
anyplace else. (TPM)
recap, the Republican party in Macomb County, MI is strategizing how to
keep people whose houses have been foreclosed upon from voting. "We
will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't
voting from those addresses," party chairman James Carabelli told
Michigan Messenger. Apparently it's an attempt to challenge
ineligible voters as not being "true residents."
interesting part of the filing is the effort by the Obama campaign to
demonstrate, in a court of law, that this behavior is
'part of a broader state and nationwide campaign by the Republican
Party to suppress the vote.' And, upping the ante, the filing
alleges that 'Defendant Republicans have a long history of engaging in
coordinated, systematic campaigns to suppress and deny the right to vote
of American citizens. Those campaigns are often targeted at various racial
groups, language minorities, or individuals of low or modest economic
circumstances whom Defendant Republicans believe are unlikely to support
them in political campaigns.'"(TPM)
from the Defenders of Wildlife, helping shift voter perception on
Sarah Palin? Maybe according to
Media Curves. On a personal note, I find the ad horribly
hard to watch, mainly because I can't bear to watch the wolves being
shot, but if the polling is to be believed, I'm not the only one.
Palin, suffering delusions of grandeur, calls
it the "Palin-McCain" administration. Ummm, note to Sarah,
you're not at the top of the ticket! (YouTube)
Sullivan, a conservative blogger at The Atlantic is
now cataloguing the Alaska Guv's
in his series "The Odd Lies of Sarah Palin." (See, "palin" in Greek
means "reversal," Thus the word "palindrome," a word or phrase that is
the same forward as it is reversed.) (Atl. Mo.)
- Says Eugene
Robinson: "We're beginning to discern
an ambitious, opportunistic politician who makes no bones
about rewarding friends and punishing those who
in her way -- and who believes that truth is nothing more, and nothing
less, than what she says it is." (WaPo)
quick Hurricane Ike aside: Remember the folks in Galveston, TX? You might
have seen the photos of the
one single house left standing in the hurricane's wake. CNN's
iReport had some
interesting info on the house and its construction from the
owner's sister. (CNN)
- And as we get ready to debate foreign policy,
Jon Stewart take Tony Blair to task over the Iraq invasion
(from last night's Daily Show).
McCain-Palin: Even Conservatives
Know He's Lost It
(Unintended?) Levity Department: Si se habla Espanol, por favor,
eschucha esta entrevista en Union Radio en Miami y digame si que es la
problema de Johnny Macque? Did JM really not understand that Spain's
Prime Minister Zapatero is not in Latin America? Does he just not like
his tie? Or maybe he just think he's passing on tapas? Y
mira, check out this piece in El Pais. This is, of course,
getting more play in Spain than it is here.
McCain laid the blame for the crisis at the feet of SEC chair
Christopher Cox. "Regulators were asleep at the switch," says
John McCain in his attempt to explain it all. In his speech in Cedar
Rapids, he also called "for creation of a new agency modeled after the
Resolution Trust Corp. that handled the fallout from the savings and
loan crisis." He said the new agency would be called the Mortgage and
Financial Institutions Trust."
says, "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the
President and has betrayed the public's trust. If I were President
today, I would fire him." I guess no one has told him that
the President, um... doesn't actually have the power to fire the SEC
another "Ow-ee" moment, the
Wall Street Journal editorial board blasted McCain with the
kind of sarcasm that, well, that you usually see ME using. And I quote:
"Wow. 'Betrayed the public's trust.' Was Mr. Cox dishonest? No. He
merely changed some minor rules, and didn't change others, on
short-selling. String him up! Mr. McCain clearly wants to distance
himself from the Bush Administration. But this assault on Mr. Cox is
both false and deeply unfair. It's also un-Presidential." (WSJ)
Cox is of course, not amused by McCain' critiques, but releases a
remarkably level-headed response... compared to the WSJ.
"The best response to political jabs like this is simply to put your
head down and not lose a step doing the best job you can possibly do on
behalf of those you serve." (HuffPo)
one of the Keating Five: Remember them? Five Senators accused
of helping the head of the failed Lincoln savings and loan dodge Federal
taking kickbacks from same? McCain was officially cleared of
wrongdoing, but admonished for "bad judgment" in meeting with Federal
regulators on Keating's behalf. (Phx New Times)
- Robert Scheer reminds us that
John McCain's stock in trade was always eliminating regulations:
"McCain has been a master of the special interest giveaways to Wall
Street that enabled this meltdown... he voted for abolishing all of the
significant rules put in place at the time of the Great Depression
designed to prevent a repeat. The two main bills accomplishing that,
which McCain enthusiastically supported, were the Commodity Futures
Modernization Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Gramm is former
Sen. Phil Gramm, chair of the Senate Banking Committee when he acted as
chief sponsor of both pieces of legislation. The same Gramm that McCain
picked to co-chair his presidential campaign." (SFGate)
most forgiving conservatives are turning against McCain.
Conservative columnist Richard Cohen writes: "The John McCain of old is
unrecognizable. He has become the sort of politician he once
despised...His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as
his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the
country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once
stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly
unprepared to become president. McCain knows that." Read it--seriously,
it's a good piece. (WaPo)
"laboring to hit the right economic note:"
"Mr. McCain has had to labor to get past the impression — fostered by
his own admissions as recently as last year that the subject is not his
strongest suit — that he lacks the experience and understanding to
address the nation’s economic woes." (NYT)
in the day, McCain came out, guns a-blazing, about not using taxpayer dollars
to bail out AIG. (ABC)
and McCain weigh in on the crisis. "People
are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still, the
fundamentals of our economy are strong," Mr. McCain told a rally in
Jacksonville. "But these are very, very difficult times." "We just
woke up to news of financial disaster this morning and he said that the
fundamentals of the economy are still strong?" Mr. Obama told voters at
an afternoon rally here. "Senator McCain, what economy are you talking
clarifies what he meant he thought he was about to try to say: "Well
it's obviously true that the workers of America are the fundamentals
of our economy, and our strength and our future,'' he said. "And I
believe in the American worker, and someone who disagrees with that
– it's fine. We are in crisis. We all know that. The excess, the
greed and the corruption of Wall Street have caused us to have a
situation which is going to affect every American. We are in a total
Betcha didn't know
McCain invented the BlackBerry-- and that was BEFORE he
learned to use email....Says the NY Times, in a droll, one-sentence
aside: "The original BlackBerrys were made by a Canadian company,
Research in Motion."
And on the subject of one of my bugaboos about the
"McCain: Hero for All Time" stories, Mary Mitchell points out that
if we're being asked to evaluate candidate McCain on his character
based on his war-hero years, then we should also be told the the
story of the shabby way he treated first-wife Carol. Maybe that's
what attracted him to Cindy. Ariel Levy's profile of Cindy McCain in
the New Yorker looks at her family matters. "Cindy McCain
regularly calls herself an only child. In fact, she has two half
sisters: Kathleen Portalski and Dixie Burd, Marguerite's daughter
from a previous marriage.
'I feel bad about having a father that
wasn't there, and then having my face rubbed in this—having her
stand up and say she's an only child—makes it even worse,' Kathleen Portalski told me." Kathleen Portalski visited her father almost
every day in the months before his death. When he died, Cindy McCain
inherited the Hensley empire; Kathleen Portalski and her family
received ten thousand dollars. Stephanie Portalski found that a
credit card her grandfather had given her had been cut off days
after his death.
Given the tanking markets,
should we consider the wisdom of
privatizing Social Security-- you know, cause we workers
have been missing out on putting that money into the stock market
and earning those high rates of return.
A recap for those who don't remember: debate has raged over how to
fund Social Security because if it continues at current rates,
"starting in 2017, program expenses begin to exceed revenues."
President Bush has
pushed during his second term for a plan in which "up to four
percent of taxable wages, up to a maximum of $1000, could be
diverted from FICA and voluntarily placed by workers into private
accounts for investment.... These personal accounts could be
invested in various managed investment funds similar to the
Thrift Savings Plan, in which the investor can choose between
Corporate bonds and a
stock market fund."
Obama "opposed President Bush's privatization scheme because
it would have undermined -- not strengthened - Social Security."
addition, McCain' position has been unclear and inconsistent on
Social Security privatization. In March,
he campaigned heartily in support of Bush's plan to
privatize Social Security.
But in June while at a town hall in Nashua he said:
"I am not for quote 'privatization of Social
Security.' I never have been, never will be. That is a great
buzzword for an attack." (Nashua
Toxic Asset Load
Beck's hilarious explanation using Tickle Me Elmo Dolls:
"It's just before Christmas,1996, and as you watch overeager parents
trample each other to buy Tickle Me Elmo dolls for their kids, you
see an opportunity. "This isn't a Tickle Me Elmo bubble," you think
to yourself, "this is a long-term trend. Every person in America
will soon own a Tickle Me Elmo, maybe even two. It's the American
dream." You approach your local banker about a loan and, naturally,
he loves your idea. In fact, he loves it so much that for every $1
you have in your account, he's willing to lend you $34. Great deal,
you think, as you max out your credit line and buy as many Tickle Me
Elmos as you possibly can..."(CNN)
The New York Times has also assembled a panel
some "in English please" answers.
How the crisis actually affects the average
Joe's 401k: Do you
need to be worried about your 401k or your mutual fund investments?
"It also might be time to review your risk tolerance: if you're
tempted to move your money around on a difficult day, it might be
time to rethink your stock allocation (in other words, you might
want to lower it)." (NYT)
a year ago, Robert Bruner wondered about Mr. "Irrational Exuberance"
Greenspan's part in the market woes: "Greenspan lowered interest
rates aggressively in the early part of the decade. In the process, he
stoked a speculative surge that some critics say caused the present
market woes." (WSJ)
America, you now own more junk.
the Fed just committed $85 billion of your tax dollars to bailing out
Why? Because AIG--
the 18th largest corporation in the world, with holdings that include
not just financial services, asset management and life insurance, but
telecommunications and market-making--can't
be allowed to fail.
According to Wikipedia, they are the
leasers of aircraft, and the
largest underwriters of
commercial and industrial insurance in America.
A major money market fund is warning that depositors could lose money.
"The fund said that because the value of some investments had fallen,
customers now have only 97 cents for each dollar they had invested. This
is only the second time in history that a money market fund has "broken
the buck" — that is, reported a share's value was less than a dollar."
was your weekend?
Dow is down 500 points today,
banking execs are in a moderated panic,
brokerage firms are stumbling left and right,
buying up any crappy mortgage-backed securities
sub-prime mortgage crisis kinda works,
check out Wikipedia's diagram. The BBC also has a look at the
lots of pretty graphs. Brits.
Buffett had to say back in April about the subprime mortgage crisis
fallout: "Finance has gotten so complex,
with so much interdependency. I argued with Alan Greenspan some about
this at [Washington Post chairman] Don Graham's dinner. He would say
that you've spread risk throughout the world by all these instruments,
and now you didn't have it all concentrated in your banks. But what
you've done is you've interconnected the solvency of institutions to a
degree that probably nobody anticipated. (Money)
endorses Barack Obama and said,
basically McCain would need a lobotomy to bring his (social justice)
ideas in line with Buffett's. (CNBC)
Alan Greenspan warns that this could be just the beginning:
"But in and of itself that does not need to be a problem," he
explained."It depends on how it is handled and how the liquidations take
place. And indeed we shouldn't try to protect every single
institution. The ordinary course of financial change has winners
and losers." Spoken like a true Ayn Rand-ian Objectivist.
Greenspan, by the way,
isn't supportive of McCain's plan to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.
old Lehman Brothers, was forced to file for bankruptcy,
Merrill Lynch has gone and sold itself to Bank of America for
half of what it was valued at last year, and
A.I.G., America's largest insurance company, went begging to the
Federal government for a $40 billion bridge loan. "The humbling
moves, which reshape the landscape of American finance, mark the latest
chapter in a tumultuous year in which once-proud financial institutions
have been brought to their knees as a result of hundreds of billions of
dollars in losses because of bad mortgage finance and real estate
Times with advice on
where to keep your cash, if you have any...
Sea Trade monopoly, land speculation during the 1830s, The Knickerbocker
Banking Panic of 1907:
market collapses in history. (Newsweek)
A Chance to Show Your Quality: Part Deux
appearance on the View is well worth seeing, just to see McCain's
moment of realization that the "ladies of the View" are not here to give
him a tea party. Watch Barbara Walters go after him on facts -- It's
quite the sight.
Part 3. (What does it mean when the toughest questioning a
candidate gets in on "The View?") (YouTube)
How far have
if Underhanded Sleazy Tactic Meister KARL ROVE says you've gone too
far?? "McCain has gone in some of his ads -- similarly gone one
step too far," Karl Rove told Fox News, "and sort of attributing to
Obama things that are, you know, beyond the '100 percent truth' test."
then realizes what he's saying and quickly adds that Obama's gone too
far too. (CNN)
of Codename: Turdblossom, get ready for the ugly.
Swift Boaters are readying ads against Obama.
"Republicans appear to have a head start. In April, Simmons, a corporate
tycoon who had spent heavily on the Swift boat campaign, began holding
meetings with other Swift boat donors to discuss renewing their effort
for 2008-- meetings that included input from Bush's former strategist,
Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL. Frightening it is, how much Palin
looks like Fey, and how Fey has got those Palinisms pretty much nailed.
- And if you've ever wondered about McCain's second
wife, Ariel Levy's profile of Cindy McCain
looks at her family matters. "Cindy McCain regularly calls
herself an only child. In fact, she has two half sisters: Kathleen
Portalski and Dixie Burd, Marguerite's daughter from a previous
marriage. 'I feel bad about having a father that wasn't there, and then
having my face rubbed in this—having her stand up and say she's an only
child—makes it even worse,' Kathleen Portalski told me." Kathleen
Portalski visited her father almost every day in the months before his
death. When he died, Cindy McCain inherited the Hensley empire; Kathleen
Portalski and her family received ten thousand dollars. Stephanie
Portalski found that a credit card her grandfather had given her had
been cut off days after his death." (New Yorker)
Obama made a remark about McCain's "change" slogan being like
"putting lipstick on a pig," McCain's camp immediately
presumed he was referring to Sarah Palin, since she's the only one on
a major party ticket who wears lipstick (Are you quite certain about
that?) and they
got their knickers in a twist (whoops--is that going to
offend John, who is obviously the only one who would wear
Johnny Mac himself, who said the exact same thing about
Hillary's healthcare plan. (YouTube)
the Piggy Lipstick nonsense. "See it would be funny, it would
be funny except, of course the news media decided that was the lead
story yesterday. The McCain campaign would much rather have the story
about phony and foolish diversions than about the future."
Watch the video on MSN.
Obama makes an appearance on Letterman, looking much calmer and more
relaxed than the rest of us feel!
Dave: "Yeah, they got together and they said, 'You know what? He
called our vice presidential candidate a pig.'" (audience laughs)
"Well, that seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?"
Obama: "It does. But keep in mind that, technically, had I meant it
that way, she would have been the lipstick, you see? The failed
policies of John McCain would be the pig."
Palinista--SHE SPEAKS! Palin finally answers questions from
what McCain was really, really, really hoping would be a sympathetic
and softball Charlie Gibson on ABC. I know, Most of you
don't even want to watch-- you can
read the excerpts.
tough enough? Ehn, coulda been more. Did Sarah stumble?
She made Charlie a little testy, it's true, but she also
had her lines pretty well memorized. Still there were some
obvious bumps in the road. She kinda declared war on Russia (calling
the Georgian invasion unprovoked--um, those Georgians are nice and
all, but....even I wouldn't say "unprovoked"), couldn't figure out
what Bush's doctrine was, and yes, she STILL says "nukular."
Gloria Steinem compares the Palinista to Phyllis
Schlafly. But she also reminds us
"the culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of
change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between
form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing
ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been
a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain
could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who
has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine." (LAT)
Andrew Sullivan has a nice piece about what this
says about McCain' integrity: "McCain
made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the
end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares
about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows
nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this
country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total
unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base."
McCain' roomates have heard his war hero POW story too
depressed about the swinging poll numbers, YOU MUST CHILL.
Keep the following in mind:
generally use land lines, but when most Americans,
especially the young, have switched to cell phones, what demographic
are they really capturing?
- Pollsters SELECT whom they wish to poll based on
demographics. Hardly anyone talks about the methodology of that
selection process these days, although
it's been pointed out as a problem as far back as 1980.
- More recently, HuffPo's Seth Colter Walls pointed
out: "Gallup's tracking poll, USA Today and CBS News all show the
Republicans with some kind of lead over the Democratic ticket. But,
all three polls were also conducted using a higher sampling of
Republican voters than in July, raising a question of
methodology. In a year in which Democrats have a lead of 11 million
registered voters over Republicans, and have been adding to that
advantage through a robust field operation, are pollsters
- "Is Candidate Name someone you would like to be
friends with?" Are we in the middle of constructing a fantasy film.
Revisit the Wall Street Journal's early August article "When
Voters Lie," for some insights.
points out that, even with the "dismal" poll numbers,
if Obama holds in all the states that Kerry won in 2004 (which
I think is totally likely) and then takes Iowa (which seems pretty clear
now), New Mexico (also a distinct possibility), and, say, Colorado (Hey,
they had the convention there) Obama wins. You can pick
other scenarios too. All Kerry states plus Ohio. All Kerry states
plus New Mexico and Virginia.
- Go ahead, try it, using the
Washington Post's "Choose your own scenario" applet.
where the candidates have been spending their time. It's easy
to pick out battleground states of course. I think it's also
interesting (looking at Ohio) to sort of cross-reference this with
which counties in Ohio went for Bush vs. Kerry in 2004. Obama's
spent more time in Ohio recently than McCain, but also made an effort to
get to some of those red counties.
Virginia county registrars are
trying to keep college students from registering to vote in Virginia,
a possible swing state, by telling them if they register in
Virginia, they may lose their tax status as a dependent and possible
scholarship money.. "In a year in which historic youth voter turnout is
anticipated, and the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has
been propelled by college students' support, this case in the battleground
state of Virginia is "not an isolated incident."
On the road again...
flying thick and fast:
Factcheck.org with an assessment of the newest
comparing Obama and Palin (hey, who's running against whom here??)
are working hard to register new voters. "Since the last
federal election in 2006, volunteers like Graham combined with the
enthusiasm generated by the Obama-Clinton struggle to add more than 2
million Democrats to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters
according to party affiliation. The Republicans have lost nearly
344,000 thousand voters in the same states." (AP)
oh where, do you really stand, Johnny Mac?? Brave New Films
has a new segment out in which McCain is hoisted with his own petard,
or with his own words, as it were.
the magic of file tape and assiduously working interns,
the Daily Show's Jon Stewart has put together a similar
to the Washington Post, Palin has
billed taxpayers $16,951 as a "per diem" for 312 nights spent in
her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging
for the allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses
while traveling on state business. (WaPo)
was apparently unaware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were
privately run companies. "Speaking before voters in Colorado Springs,
the Republican vice presidential nominee claimed that lending giants
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had 'gotten too big and too expensive to
polls, polls, polls...
check out this graph,
which shows an aggregate of polls (if the poll shows Obama leading
there's a point above the center line, if McCain leads, it's a point
below the line.)
Political Arithmetik also points out that we should take
into account if the poll shows LIKELY voters as opposed to REGISTERED
these troubled times be without a dollop of Michael Moore? His
Uprising, will be available to download for free
on September 23.
Watch the trailer here.
Obama dancing on the Ellen DeGeneres show, because I am, after
all, a dance critic..
registered to vote?
Don't give me that "whatever..." Yes, it DOES matter.
Click on "Register to Vote" to register without leaving the
off this site.
Archived Political pages
Morning Cup of Sadness, but laughter
(in their own voices)
Plan for Change Ad: "For many of you, our
troubled economy isn't news."
DNC Acceptance 2008: "What the naysayers don't understand is that
this election has never been about me; it's about you."
Speech in Berlin: "People of the world – look at
Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history
proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as
Racism: "I chose to run for the presidency at
this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the
challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect
our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold
Launching his campaign: "By ourselves, this
change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail. But the life of a
tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different
future is possible. He tells us that there is power in words. He
tells us that there is power in conviction. That beneath all the
differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He
tells us that there is power in hope."
DNC Keynote 2004: "There's
not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United
States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and
Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."
Al Gore: "We have a candidate whose
experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition."
"Like millions of Americans, they're asking questions as -- as
ordinary as they are profound, questions they never, ever thought
they'd have to ask themselves."
- Bill Clinton:
"People the world over have always been more impressed
by the power of our example than by the example of our power."
"We cannot let this moment slip away. We have
come too far and accomplished too much."
"All of us driven by the simple belief that the world
as it is just won't do, that we have an obligation to fight for the
world as it should be."
Ted Kennedy: "The work begins anew. The hope
rises again. And the dream lives on."
"From its very birth, our party has been grounded in
the notion of service, community, self-reliance..."
Sarah Palin: "I've learned quickly, these past few days,
that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite,
then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that
reason alone... Here's a little newsflash for those reporters and
commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion."
Mitt Romney: "What do you think Washington is right
now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or
conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution
rights? We need change all right — change from a liberal Washington to
a conservative Washington."
Mike Huckabee: "Heck, I was in college before I
found out it wasn't supposed to hurt to take a shower."
"At exactly the right time, John McCain said, "We're all Georgians."
Joe Lieberman: " The
Washington bureaucrats and power brokers can't build a pen strong enough
to hold these two mavericks."
Fred Thompson: "She
has run a municipality and she has run a state. And I think I can say
without fear of contradiction she is the only nominee in the history of
either party who knows how to properly field-dress a moose."