Monthly Archives: August 2011

If Tom Friedman writes another column like that, I expect a good job will open up at the NY Times

I give him one 'Friedman Unit'

He’s been reading his grandkids ‘happily ever after’ books I think.

“This is a scary economic moment. The response we need is not easy, but it is totally obvious. We need a Grand Bargain between America’s two parties — and we need it right now [oooh, such strong language]. Until you read the following news article, we’ll be stuck in a world of hurt.

“Washington (AP) — It was a news conference the likes of which the White House had never seen. President Obama stood in the East Room, flanked by the House speaker, John Boehner; the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell; the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid; and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. . . 

The whole sloppy silly thing is here.

UPDATE: The inimitible Atrios just posted too: “All complaints should be addressed to suckonthis@tomfriedman.com.”

 

Wolf Blitzer is a fool

The man makes my teeth hurt. As here, where his obsequious acceptance of Trump treating him like lower staff, makes CNN look as foolish as this ‘anchor’  who appears to be on air 8 days a week.

Michelle Bachmann’s eyes

I think the Newsweek cover was over the top, but anything ‘Bachmann’ inspires comedy gold.

More photoshopped ‘Bachman’s eyes’ here.

Congress goes home to see the constituents in August you see . . .

From Andrew Sullivan:

20 percent of the US House of Representatives will be on tours of Israel in the next three weeks. Staggering. Of all the countries salient to US foreign policy, it’s clear who calls the shots. A tiny country of six million with barely any strategic advantage for the US since the Cold War. But to note the fact that there is an Israel lobby that has unparalleled influence in Washington is de facto anti-Semitic.

Twenty friggin-percent! Sounds like J-Street still has a lot of work to do. AIPAC is killin’ em.

Being right doesn’t cut it cuz he’s ‘shrill’ dontcha’ know

Krugman blog today:

Once again: S&P declared that US debt is no longer a safe investment; yet investors are piling into US debt, not out of it . . . amounts to a massive market rejection of S&P’s concerns.

. . . that downgrade will bully policy makers into even more deflationary, contractionary policies than they would have undertaken otherwise, which has the perverse effect of making US debt more attractive, since the alternatives are worse.

. . . to those claiming that falling stock prices somehow validate S&P: hey, guys, these people weren’t rating stocks, they were rating US debt — and the price of that debt has gone UP.

I leadz the way ya know

Jonathan Turley’s blog put up Phil Phillips doing Sea of Love this week just because I did it last week! (But I had video! So there.)

Turley’s is a unique blog with a take on contemporary legal issues as seen by a constitutional lawyer. And other stuff (obviously). Think he’s reading me? Nah.

Bobblespeak ‘documents the atrocities’*

The August 7 translations are up; just the essence of the weekly gasbaggery.

FROM ABC This Week:

 

 

 

 

FROM NBC Meet The Press:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* the Sunday talk shows, so named by Atrios.

Sunday funnies

I’ve been looking, but there’s nothing funny out there. Maybe later.

I’m embarrassed

from Political Irony this morning:

Now all countries with a AAA credit rating have universal health care.

 

I just don’t know what to make of this

Start at the beginning for a taste of it. If you haven’t got 4 minutes, scroll across to 3:20 to be amazed. It’s a little creepy, but . . . wow.

Fool me once . . . fool me twice . . .

But S&P said . . . oh shit!

So the wise men who issued peachy pluperfect ratings to all those investment banks awash in credit default swaps in 2008 –  gushing, my dears, just gushing about a brilliant future mere days before Lehman bit the dust – have now passed judgement on the credit worthiness of the United States of America. And they’re being taken seriously.

Judging whether the downgrade is warranted or not – well above my pay grade; I haven’t a clue. But I will venture to ask . . . WTF??

FOX makes it crystal clear

But we always knew who they were, didn’t we? Screen grab from today:

Friday night oldie

Okay, this one isn’t really an oldie by my standards, but after this ugly week I needed reminding that if Joe Cocker can survive and thrive, then so can I.

Can. Not. Beleive. It.

MTV is 30 years old.

I’m actually surprised: Americans still blame Bush for our economic mess

I think it’s pretty unusual for a public attitude to survive this long, but I’m not much of a poll watcher, so perhaps you know better. Go ahead and correct me; I’ve recently realized that I apparently don’t actually know everything.

According to the newest NYT/CBS poll, 44% still blame the Bush administration for the mess.  15% blame Obama and oddly, that’s a tie with Congress, who also get 15%. I am really surprised. Good old American people seem to have their blinders off at last. The poll is here if you’re interested. It’s not particularly long and has more interesting stuff.

 

 

Rain, rain, come to stay . . . please

This year we had lots of rain in June and early July, which was so welcome. SW Florida has been in drought for a few years now. We worry about the integrity of the aquifers and salt intrusion. Only a good wet summer can fix things.

But now it’s stopped and there’s no sign of new rain in the seven day forecast. Lake Okeechobee is still very low, as are many of our rivers. So the worry is back. A nice mild tropical storm parked here for a few days would be perfect. But that’s not in the forecast either.

For those of us who stay in Florida through the summer, these afternoon rains are our private joy. They’re dangerous and romantic and I love them. They build in the east and slowly darken my sky. In the distance, I might hear a hint of thunder. (Is it thunder? I hope it’s thunder!) If I’m home I scurry out to the lanai. It’s exciting and the anticipation is keen; sometimes I find my fingers crossed.

If the rain does come it could be a violent squall or maybe just a polite shower. But whichever, it breaks the heat of the day; the temperature can briefly drop as much as ten degrees, promising a cooler evening to come.

But right now it doesn’t seem to want to come and it’s dry out there. I have my fingers crossed.

Why Christie is popular

People are starved for candor – especially in today’s political swamp –  and NJ Gov. Christie delivers over and over again. Politics/policy aside, I would be thrilled to hear more people speak this way.

(Glenn Beck, if he’s still amongst us, must be feeling faint.)

 

This is killing us

A C-SPAN guest this morning noted, in a “in other news, the sun came up this morning” tone, that “the President’s fundraising this quarter is expected to be down; he had to miss ten fundraisers last month because of the debt ceiling talks”.  Ten fundraisers?? So how many are scheduled for August guys? Twenty? How about thirty?  August has thirty one days, so that way he could spend a day at the desk.

During which days by the way, our Congress will be doing the same thing.

Maybe we should go show the Supreme Court what it looks like when real ‘citizens’ are ‘united’.

Krugman: “got that 30’s feeling”

A post from Krugman’s blog today.

Given a crisis that should have been relatively easy to solve — and, more than that, a crisis that anyone who knew macroeconomics 101 should have been well-prepared to deal with — what we actually got was an obsession with problems we didn’t have.

He points to ‘intellectual failure’ among the ruling classes, and not just here in the U.S.

Fears of far-right rise in crisis-hit Greece

ATHENS, Greece — They descended by the hundreds — black-shirted, bat-wielding youths chasing down dark-skinned immigrants through the streets of Athens and beating them senseless in an unprecedented show of force by Greece’s far-right extremists.

In Greece, alarm is rising that the twin crises of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration are creating the conditions for a right-wing rise — and the Norway massacre on Monday drove authorities to beef up security.

The move comes amid spiraling social unrest that has unleashed waves of rioting and vigilante thuggery on the streets of Athens. The U.N.’s refugee agency warns that some Athens neighborhoods have become zones where “fascist groups have established an odd lawless regime.”

 

They seem to have confused the U.S. Constitution with the Articles of Confederation

Don’t tell the Tea Party caucus who, along with Grover Norquist and a cabal (yes, cabal) of soulless financiers who crave power and hate taxes, that when they dream of a balanced budget and  call for a return to our ‘founding principles’, they only reveal ignorance of American history. In Salon, William Hogeland points out that The Founding Fathers would have hated the debt ceiling.

The Constitution came about precisely to enable a newly large government — a national one — to tax all Americans for the specific purpose of funding a large public debt. Neither Alexander Hamilton nor his mentor the financier Robert Morris made any bones about that purpose; James Madison was among their closest allies; and Edmund Randolph of Virginia opened the Constitutional Convention by charging the delegates to redress the country’s failure to fund — not pay off, fund — the public debt, by creating a national government.

Beginning during the War of Independence, and continuing throughout the 1780s, American nationalists committed themselves to a small class of upscale high financiers (largely identical with the American nationalists), who had bought bonds from the confederation Congress in hopes of earning regular, tax-free, 6 percent interest payments — not in the Congress’s crashing paper currency but in hard, cold metal or its equivalent, stable bills of exchange. Morris, Hamilton, Madison and others believed that swelling the debt to immense proportions would make a coherent nation out of 13 squabbling states and make that nation a player on the world economic stage. Their plan to do so depended partly on making military-officer pay a pension, thus turning the entire officer class into public bondholders — and giving Congress new power to tax all Americans to support that debt.

But they are certain of their righteousness (as defined by right-wing Christian Evangelicals and FOX News) and will fight on, financed by those whose allegiance is not to any nation, much less our own.

All hail the United Corporations of America

While congress refines its performance art and the media take to their fainting couches, the overlords of our brave new world share a smug smile and head out to their summer houses. Their work is done. For now.

Expect radio gas bags to spit and sputter today

In the Wall Street Journal‘s editoriall this morning, we find much admiration for the debt deal (natch), much damning of damn liberals (it’s their job after all), and much admiration for the Tea Party success (political porn).

But there was also this little tidbit:

The same supposedly conservative Republicans and their talk radio minders may denounce this deal as a sellout, but we’ll be charitable and assume they’ve climbed so far out on the political ledge they don’t know how to climb back without admitting they were wrong.

From my paper this morning: budget bedlam?

Now you see it, now you don't!

A letter to the editor today from an economist acquaintance points out something that’s ignored in the national dialogue (can we call the dueling punditocracy a dialogue?).

A balanced budget brings a whole new set of problems. (The full letter is here.)

An amendment to the U.S. Constitution, requiring an annually balanced federal budget, will destabilize the U.S. economy. . .

[if the] economy moves into recession, the budget will automatically move into a deficit, because income-tax collections will fall and unemployment compensation payments will rise. To bring the budget back into balance, Congress would have to increase taxes and/or cut spending.

. . . [if the] economy is expands rapidly, the budget will automatically move to a surplus, because income-tax collections will rise faster than GDP and spending on unemployment programs will fall. To bring the budget back into balance, Congress would have to increase spending and/or cut taxes.

Try planning in an environment where national priorities change every 12 months. But the GOP base would be thrilled and that’s the whole point, isn’t it.