25 September 2008


Sarah Palin is probably the only person in North America that could make Katie Couric look like a serious journalist. Katie throws out a loaded question about the government's bailout proposal, and Palin tries to answer without a teleprompter. Bad idea.

I wonder if Palin made any additions to her campaign staff in recent weeks.


What The Young Turks lack in set design, they more than make up for in fiscal prudence. 

Why Is There Always Money For Wall Street And War And Not For Healthcare? [YouTube]

22 September 2008


If you're one of those people that's giving the cock-eyed dog look to the plans being proposed to avert an American financial crisis, you're not alone. Nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars-worth of federal aid is being earmarked for a staggering economic intervention.

All that shitty debt that the banks couldn't sell? They finally have a buyer--the United States government.

The plan would allow the Treasury to buy up troubled assets from U.S.-based companies and foreign firms with big U.S. operations. The aim is for the government to buy the securities at a discount, hold onto them and then sell them for a profit.

Experts liken the Treasury's plan to the Home Owners' Loan Corp., put in place in 1933 to stem foreclosures and help refinance defaulting mortgages and boost banks' liquidity.

The one question I want an answer to is this: Is it worth all of this for people to own their own homes? Is it worth another near-trillion dollars of national debt to pay for the errors that these lenders have made?

Sorry, that's two questions, and I realize they're both really fundamental. Some of you will say, yes, the solvency of these institutions is essential for a capitalist society to operate. And I would agree.

But what if just a handful of these banks, you know, the ones that really fucked up, were allowed to fail? What if we (gasp) heeded to the laws of the free market and forced the owners and vendors of this debt to face the consequences of their actions?


Why are your tax payments being used as a white-collar National Guard? Why aren't these companies that dug their own graves being allowed to fall into them? Why is the government EVEN CONSIDERING ownership of such large multinational firms?

Let's ask Paul LaMonica, CNN Money's noted liberal douchebag analyst (and I say that because he opens up with this ridiculous tirade about CEO pay. YOU get over it, fuckface). He says the government has no choice, and his angle is that there are too many jobs at stake. Emphasis added:

Add that up and you've got nearly 11 million people, or just under 10% of the entire nation's labor force, working in industries that could be directly (and negatively) affected if the financial services sector and housing market were left to just sort themselves out.

"Nobody wanted this to happen. It ticks me off as a taxpayer but what were the options? Let the entire banking system go under? Then you might not have a job," Norris added.

The bailout will certainly come at a great economic price. The current estimate is $700 billion. There's no escaping the fact this will add to the nation's already sizable deficit.

Doing the math, you're spending about $63k to artificially preserve each job. Is that price not too high? Eh, the government's paying for it. Who cares? Pardon the sarcasm, but I obviously think this price is a bit steep. And that's the estimate, mind you.

Me? I blame government for getting us into this mess, and the Wall Street Journal seems to agree keeping government out of this as much as possible is the best course of action:

Washington is as deeply implicated in this meltdown as anyone on Wall Street or at Countrywide Financial. Going back decades, but especially in the past 15 or so years, our politicians have promoted housing and easy credit with a variety of subsidies and policies that helped to create and feed the mania.

Let them crash. And let the rest of the sector take notice. Nobody's gonna assume risk of shitty business decisions when the government remains waiting with a blank check, ready to save the world from problems they managed to cause in the first place.

Bailout Taking Shape [CNN Money]

Be Ticked Off, But Get Over It [CNN Money]

A Mortgage Fable [Wall Street Journal]

19 September 2008


Joe Biden, you motherfucker. The last thing you need to be doing is talking shit about my team, especially while I'm talking shit about my team in the wake of a crushing and catastrophic loss to a Pac-10 team. I DON'T WANT A GOVERNMENT THAT TRIES TO RELIEVE MY ANGST FOR ME!

Speaking to members of the University of Delaware football team Friday morning, the Democratic VP candidate said he thinks the Fightin Blue Hens (1-1 this season) could thrash a certain team from Ohio.

"I was out in Ohio," he said while fiddling with a football in his hands. "I told the folks in Ohio that we'd kick Ohio State's ass!" (It remains unclear if Biden actually ever told Ohio voters this.)

Now if Biden had been talking shit about white quarterbacks, I could get down with that. But the last thing I want to hear about is FCS speed.

Biden, a proud University of Delaware alum, was clearly trying to rally his Division 1-AA team ahead of their match-up with Furman this weekend, but the comments couldn't have come at a worse time for faithful Buckeye fans who saw their team suffer a 35-3 trouncing at the hands of USC last weekend.

The comments also come as polls show the race in Ohio could hardly be tighter: A CNN poll of polls in the Buckeye state shows Obama holding a slim 1 point lead there. Close enough, presumably, that enough angry OSU fans could just make the difference — at least that's what Republicans are hoping.

Hey, look at me! I'm Joe Biden! Get fucked, Joseph. I get enough of this shit from Ufford. At least Ufford has actually killed people. What did you ever do? Um, you know, besides that political stuff?

Biden in hot water with some Ohioans [CNN.com]

18 September 2008


For all the press that Tina Fey received for a mediocre impression of somebody we all thought she resembled anyway, these girls have taken it up a notch in a much more creative (and hilarious) way.

Hat tip to NOBODY, so get fucked.

YouTube: Hockey Moms Against Sarah Palin


We're very late mentioning Wallace here, but someone did pass along this amazing account he produced for Rolling Stone back in 2000, when he followed the John McCain campaign through South Carolina during the presidential primaries, on the flagship bus affectionately called Bullshit One

Wallace covers McCain's internment in Hanoi, his campaign team's response to a negative campaign ad from George W. Bush (referred to simply as "The Shrub"), and the analysis of the news techies that have seen it all before: 
This logic turns out to be indeed solid, even brilliant, and the NBC, CBS and CNN techs flesh it out while the ABC cameraman puts several emergency sandwiches in his lens bag for tonight's flight south on a campaign plane whose provisioning is notoriously inconsistent. The Shrub's attack leaves McCain with two options. 

If he does not retaliate, some SC voters will credit McCain for taking the high road. But it could also come off as wimpy, might compromise McCain's image as a tough, take-no-shit guy with the balls to take on the Washington kleptocracy. So McCain pretty much has to strike back, the techs agree. But this is extremely dangerous, for by retaliating — which of course (despite all Murphy's artful dodging) means going Negative himself — McCain runs the risk of looking like just another ambitious, win-at-any-cost politician. 

Worse, the CBS cameraman points out, if Bush then turns around and retaliates against the retaliation, and McCain has to re-retaliate against Bush's retaliation, and so on, then the whole GOP race could quickly degenerate into the sort of boring, depressing, cynical charge- and counter-charge contest that turns voters off and keeps them away from the polls.
If we were going to call anything "must read," this would be it. I can't believe this guy's gone. 

Wikipedia: Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2000


Dilbert creator Scott Adams commissioned a survey of 500 economists to field their opinions on the two main candidates in the presidential election. Adams wanted advice from members of the American Economic Association on whether McCain or Obama would be better suited for addressing the issues that affect this great land. Adams unveiled the results on his blog, and on CNN.com:

This summer I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy.

Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive. So for once I asked not what my country could do for me.

Now you have to stay awake for this part, because this is where the numbers come in:

When asked which candidate for President would be best for the economy in the long run, not surprisingly, 88% of Democratic economists think Obama would be best, while 80% of Republican economists pick McCain.

Independent economists, who in this sample are largely from the academic world, lean toward Obama by 46% compared to 39% for McCain. Overall, 59% of the economists say Obama would be best for the economy long term, with 31% picking McCain, and 8% saying there would be no difference.

How does Adams himself lean politically?

On social issues, I lean Libertarian, minus the crazy stuff.

I can't support a candidate who promises to tax the bejeezus out of my bracket,
give the windfall to a bunch of clowns with a 14 percent approval rating
(Congress), and hope they spend it wisely.

Unfortunately, the
alternative to the guy who promises to pillage my wallet is a lukewarm cadaver.
I'm in trouble either way.

I just hope whoever gets elected notices that
the economists in my survey don't think that raising my taxes is a priority.

Hear, hear. You know what's a priority with me? Free whores. Seriously, the first candidate to go pro-whore won't be able to pack his bags for Washington fast enough.

17 September 2008

12 September 2008


Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, one of the great election data blogs, has done a comparison of the polls from before the election and after, and reports that while McCain has made gains in the popular vote polling (about 2 points), he hasn't received any boost in terms of beating Obama in the Electoral College:

McCain's gain in our popular vote projection has been 2.1 points. Note, however, that his gains have been less than that in essentially all of the most important swing states, including Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Only Virginia is on the other side of the line, and then only barely so.

As a result of all this, the Electoral College remains too close to call, even though McCain has a 1-2 point advantage in the popular vote. Obama now has an 8.4 percent chance of winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, which is far and away the highest that this number has been all year.

This merits a quick blurb about the Electoral College from Wikipedia:

Candidates can fail to get the most votes in the nationwide popular vote in a Presidential election and still win that election. This occurred in 1876, 1888 and 2000. Critics argue the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic and gives certain swing states disproportionate clout in selecting the President and Vice President. Adherents argue that the Electoral College is an important and distinguishing feature of the federal system, and protects the rights of smaller states. Numerous constitutional amendments have been submitted seeking a replacement of the Electoral College with a direct popular vote. However, no submission has ever successfully passed both Houses of Congress.

I have no idea how many undecided voters are out there, but in this polarized political landscape, I wonder how much ground there really is to gain. FiveThirtyEight's projection has McCain taking 272 of the 538 electoral votes in November, more than the required 270 needed to win the presidency...barely.

More from FiveThirtyEight next week. I guess we're doing some posts over here again.