Re: NOTHELPFUL is the new CHANGEBAD

1

Trying to change the world by typing at it is an attempt to cast a magic spell, to make words into deeds.

But words aren't deeds.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
2

In theory, one could write a letter to the editor and also post it on one's blog.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
3

2 - One could, but that's not what they're doing.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
4

Sure, but it makes a decent rejoinder to the laughable "the letter might not get published" argument.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
5

Or you could give him $100 which would pay for broadcasting a 30 second tv ad to thousands of people.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
6

Eh, I decided I'm going to max out to Obama as my main way of helping. I might canvass a weekend in NH, but mostly I don't feel like I'd do much good with the limited time I could spend phonebanking. My wife has been trying to organize a student registration drive through the campaign but they seem pretty disorganized in that effort.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:25 PM
horizontal rule
7

I should note that the reason I'm annoyed by this is that the majority who talk like this are doing it in lieu of volunteering instead of in addition to. Why waste time canvassing when their talents of writing and persuasion are so much more powerful?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:28 PM
horizontal rule
8

Becks, is there any sense in your stepping up your argument(s) to them -- which you say are shouted down -- to try to convince them that mainstream voters' perceptions are significantly affected by what they read in the local papers, less so by blogs, so that it *really is* worthwhile to write letters to the editor?

I imagine that's what you've tried to do, though. To be shouted down.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
9

True words.

Also funny/annoying: the Yard Sign Squad. Each day, we have to deal with a horde of mild-mannered yuppies who become ragingly passionate when they learn that the office won't be getting in yard signs for another week. Not that any of these people make phone calls - the neighbors can't see phone calls.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
10

I solves Becks' dilemma. I'm setting up a blog for the Wobegon County Democratic Party! I'm going to be punctilious about keeping it disjunct from my Unfoggetarian activities.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
11

"I don't operate under the illusion that the writings on this blog has convinced the minds of even one person to vote for Obama who wouldn't have otherwise. ..."

That may be but I would guess more people read a post on this blog than read the average letter to the editor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
12

I had wonderful luck writing letters to the editor when I was doing it. A well-written, well-focussed letter that makes a solid point has very good chances. "Well-written" doesn't mean brilliantly written either, though if you can say things in a snappy way it helps a lot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
13

9 - ZOMG they're all insane about yard signs too. THAT'S WHY WE'RE LOSING. WE'RE LOSING BECAUSE WE HAVE FEWER SIGNS THAN THEM. WE NEED SIGNS!!!11!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
14

Eh. Took a few minutes for what Becks was saying to sink in, hence my 8, which just repeated her.

I'm remembering now having experienced something like this a number of years ago when I went to a few local anti-war meetings -- the type held in church basements. A bunch of very well-meaning people, gesturing naively about holding bake sales and setting up a table at the local farmer's market (that's not bad).

But it was extremely difficult to put aside the feeling that these people needed some leadership, a strategy, an introductory lecture about where efforts were wasted or duplicated, and where they might be more effective. You can't barge in like that and take over in exasperation, though. I went to a few meetings and left off with them. Consensus decision-making can be a bitch.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
15

Has anyone ever modeled voting behavior as a percolation problem? Yard signs might not play a huge role, but I can certainly imagine that low-information voters are essentially going to have some probability of randomly flipping votes in such a way that they will try to align with their neighbors (or whoever they are in contact with). There certainly exist percolation problems where small biases can have big effects; maybe yard signs, or other small efforts to put the name "Obama" in places where such voters will see it, can slightly alter how low-information voters perceive the attitudes of those around them, and eventually be important.

I'm pulling all of this out of my ass, of course, but I am curious about whether there have been efforts to do this sort of modeling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
16

13: Yeah, that's what the bake sales I described were for: to fund the making of yard signs. I admit that the periodic "War is not the answer" signs I began to see made me happy. But I think those came from an already existing national anti-war campaign, so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
17

Consensus decision-making can be a bitch.

How can you say such a thing?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
18

I think of low information voters as "ambient voters" (or omethime "whim voters"). They're passive and are turned by yard signs, buttons, TV, radio, stuff they overhear, newspaper headlines they walk past, email chain letters.

Ambient political opinion in much of the US ranges from center-right to hard right. I still don't think that Democrats are aware of how bad it is, or are dealing with it seriously.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
19

If I mentioned that the Yard Sign Squad includes almost no black people, and attributed this fact to their not caring as much about impressing their neighbors, either because they come from communities where being an Obama supporter is so universal as to be not worth announcing, or because they lack some inner yuppie lack, a hole within that can only be filled by an idealistically labeled piece of wood on their lawn, would I start a 1000-comment thread? I guess I'll find out tomorrow.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
20

Okay, John, we'll make more yard signs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
21

I'm going to fix that by starting my own blog!

That's the funniest thing that has been written on this site in months.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
22

Thr black people of Brooklyn are holding up their end of the yard-sign, lapel-button, and t-shirt deal. I'm not sure which patrons of the halal juice bar weren't voting Obama already, mind you.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
23

I/we intend to keep donating, to drive to Vegas for at least one weekend to phone/register voters/canvass, to maybe do some of that here in CA, and anything else I can think of that's doable with my heinous fucking schedule.

Today btw Mr. B. and I went out and ran around town with our Obama shirts on. Lots of positive reactions from people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
24

15 is interesting.

Yeah, I suspect the 'WE'RE LOSING BECAUSE WE HAVE FEWER SIGNS THAN THEM' anxiety is not entirely misplaced. To the extent that the signs (their sheer number and visibility, I mean) help to create the sense of a consensus, that's the consensus they might actually help to create. It makes sense to want to counter that.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
25

The most helpful thing any of us can do for this campaign is to complain about things that aren't helpful. A close second is describing what should happen instead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
26

The most helpful thing any of us can do for this campaign is to complain about things that aren't helpful.

Which is exactly why I'm going to fix everything by starting my own blog!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
27

I'm going to comment on your blog, explaining why it's not doing anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
28

Obama signs are ubiquitous in Durham and I don't think I've seen more than a dozen McCain signs citywide. But this county went 68-32 for Kerry in '04, so I guess that's to be expected.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
29

explaining why it's not doing anything.

Which will be doing something, of course, if not entirely everything. But first!: I need a domain name. How does www dot permanentresidentalienforobama dot com strike your fancy?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
30

That's all we need, an ursophiliac alien Obama blog.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
31

I'm actually seeing very few McCain signs as well, in Baltimore city and in the just-outside-the-beltway suburbs. Significantly more Obama signs and bumper stickers inside the city. More McCain bumper stickers in the 'burbs. This is pretty standard. Maryland goes Dem, ultimately.

Honestly, maybe it's still early, but there's not a lot of signage or bumper stickering, period. My sense (made up on the spot here and now) is that people know this is all highly contested and sensitive enough this time around that they're keeping it to themselves.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
32

Yeah, this reminds me of a fight I had with a friend who thought that lefty blogs criticizing Obama was a problem. I finally got him to agree that NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU SAY ON YOUR BLOG.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
33

Every volunteer group in the world has the problem of people who don't want to do the things that actually need to be done.

I think the correct solution is to encourage them if they want to start a blog (or whatever); that's energy that probably wouldn't have gone to what you needed anyways. However, when you do that, you also ask them if they could do something you actually need done. Hopefully they'll be glad to do something since you've been nice to them. (Shit, encourage them to blog about all the other things they're doing for the team. Once encouraged some of that energy will come back to the team.)

Can I ask here if soup sea biscuit is ok?

max
['Have heard from Orange-area people, but not Houston people.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
34

I had the amusing experience tonight of hearing a full-on DC-insider mainstream-media type talking passionately about how the terrible blogs just spread awful, awful rumors and it's just awful for everything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
35

2: In theory, one could write a letter to the editor and also post it on one's blog.

Or write a post on one's blog and then send it in as a letter to the editor. (Although the first way is better.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
36

Man, this post reminds me of how people would shout down suggestions that we get a union in at ebay. Suckers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
37

There is a pretty serious preponderance of McCain signs out here in rural Maryland, to the point that there is no way in hell I'm sticking my neck out and putting up an Obama sign. Especially with Halloween coming up . Might as well just put a big, fat target on my house...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
38

Today btw Mr. B. and I went out and ran around town with our Obama shirts on. Lots of positive reactions from people.

Maybe your shirt is just too small?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
39

Obama has to win the non-insane vote by a large margin to overrule the crazies. This might not happen. Karl Rove will turn this into one of the most ratfucking campaigns ever. Bush will be a moral man in comparison to McCain. I believe McAsshole will win.

Even so, I'm not seeing any McCain signs in rural Kentucky, and a surprising number of Obama signs. Also surprising, is the fact that there are a lot of people here who think he's a muslim, but who are still excited by him and plan to vote Obama anyway.


Posted by: Yuri Guri | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
40

Obama's a muslim?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
41

No.


Posted by: Yuri Guri | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
42

Boy, I'd vote for a muslim. Too bad.

McCain it is!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
43

Yeah, McCain seems like such a nice, honorable man. Did you know he was a POW? And I really like that nice lady he hangs around with, Sarah Palin. Boy, she's got some spunk!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
44

no way in hell I'm sticking my neck out and putting up an Obama sign

This probably explains the near-total lack of McCain signs around here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
45

Boy, she's got some spunk!

That's disgusting.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
46

Boy, she's got some spunk!

So, so sexist.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
47

45: Five kids, Ben. The proof is in the pudding.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
48

45, 46: oh, like you've never been to a library.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
49

37: Spike, you're in rural MD? Which county, if you don't mind my asking?

As for sticking your neck out, yeah; I'm not going to do that in my 'burb. There are no yard signs here. People give us shit for the state of our bushes and such as it is, even while they offer to help when, say, the electricity goes out. Public politics are politely avoided. Sticker your car if you have something to say.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
50

Minnesota TV is being barraged with Republican gutter ads. 100% negative.

Al Franken's opponent, Norm Coleman a.) is gay with a fake wife b.) is nasty looking today and c.) used to be this creepy hippy.

Not to speak of being an evasive fake-moderate Bush tool.

And he's running a negative, personality-based campaign against Al Franken.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
51

No more masturbating to David Foster Wallace.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
52

It would take a lot to win a personality-based campaign against Franken, I think.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
53

Apo doesn't even pretend to read the comments to my posts anymore, I see.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
54

I haven't gotten to any other posts yet. Sorry for the repetition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
55

Is that irony? Because they're digging up off-color remarks he made years ago.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
56

Poor Apo is taking care of more kids than he can count, and people are pissy because he doesn't spend enough time on the internet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
57

I'd think that it wouldn't be very hard to run a smear campaign against Franken. Practically writes itself, really.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
58

49: Carroll County. I grew up in Montgomery but it got too crowded/expensive. Much cheaper up here in the sticks. I like it here - its quiet - although the neighbors leave something to be desired.

Not long ago there was souped up pickup-truck cruising around the neigborhood, with a big confederate flag hanging out the back - being held by a stuffed dummy in a klan outfit.

Hence my reluctance to put out an Obama sign. I'm already a suspect on account of driving a hybrid.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
59

30: So you would prefer, perhaps, "A Gal, A Gun, and a Bear" (www dot agalagunandabear dot com)? As always, I'm open to suggestions.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
60

There's a The Ultimate Fighter marathon on Spike, so my attention is spotty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
61

Norm Coleman's teeth are whiter than white.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
62

57: With the Palin pick, I am being reminded of Franken's wacky romp, Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. Written in the 90s, he wins the campaign (Joe Lieberman is his VP!) thanks to a lot of help from his sociopathic brother Otto and Dan Haggerty (grizzly Adams) who finance the campaign with finance the campaign with a Lesbian phone sex operation.. Platform is eliminate ATM fees.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
63

re: lawn sign war. My first semester of college a fellow freshman friend decided to run for student assembly -- unusual for a freshman. We Photoshopped a simple poster and plastered it everywhere on campus; there was no substantive content here, just his somewhat goofy face. He won by a landslide. The perception of consensus: the strongest thread in any marketing campaign.


Posted by: CG | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
64

I was at the Crownpoint rug auction last night and the Obama campaign had a table there, registering voters and talking about the candidates' records on Native American issues.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
65

58: Not long ago there was souped up pickup-truck cruising around the neigborhood, with a big confederate flag hanging out the back - being held by a stuffed dummy in a klan outfit.

Yeah. My across-the-street neighbors have a big white stylized cross in the back window of their pick-up truck (which isn't a working type of truck, just a big-ass thing, for no discernible reason given that they're retired).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
66

I got drunk last night and (anonymously) registered the domain sarahpalinisyourbestfrenemy.com. Given that I want Obama to win, I should restrain myself from building a website, right?


Posted by: Lyndon Baines Johnson | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:37 PM
horizontal rule
67

You people do weird shit when you're drunk.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
68

There's one dude in my area who's put up a huge home-made sticker across the tailgate of his F-150 that says "Is it Global Warming or God's Wrath?"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
69

Is it Global Warming or God's Wrath?

Can't it be both?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
70

Youse all really need to stop with the Palinpalooza, if you really want to win this election.

It really is the economy, stupid.

You'll not win the culture wars in my own lifetime, is what I suspect. Your only hope is to drown out the drumbeats of the culture warriors with dire predictions of a bread-and-butter nature, is what I truly believe.

Not that I have a blog, of course, I can't come up with a domain name.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
71

sistermarycatherinesblogfortroubledyounggirls.org


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
72

71: Perfect! And if you're not actually a nice Jewish boy from Montréal, well, you damn well should be.

And it's still the economy, stupid, of course.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
73

Ben's not stupid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
74

Just call me Duddy Kravitz.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:53 PM
horizontal rule
75

73: Well, I said as how he was Jewish, didn't I? So I guess not being stupid would just be a given. "So clever," says my mother, "and they make such lovely husbands. So devoted."

My mum has more in common with the suspicious Jews of Broward Co. than perhaps she realizes!

(I didn't just say the above aloud, did I? Oh well...).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
76

Youse all really need to stop with the Palinpalooza, if you really want to win this election.

Apparently, Mary Catherine has already forgotten that nobody cares what we write on this blog.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:09 PM
horizontal rule
77

I should stop looking at fivethirtyeight.com. It's really depressing how much the numbers have changed over the last few weeks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
78

Hey guys...

Know that "you guys" (men) have been in "power of all government" for at least 2,000 years!!! Yes I speak globally of men! (well... exception of Thatcher & Indian lady) So GUYS...claim it and own it! As for me, I'll vote for the lipstick! I ask can she do "WORSE"???


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:14 PM
horizontal rule
79

74: My dad loves Mordecai Richler so much, it's not even funny. You just say "Duddy Kravitz" or "St Urbain's Horseman" and he just sort of laughs in a (half-)knowing way. And he's a good Catholic, sure. But there's nothing he loves better than the smartarse lad from Montréal making a few ripples in the pond, IYKWIM.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
80

God, you Hindu extremists are all the same. Wouldn't want to give the sPakiss any credit, huh? Well, I remember Bhutto.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
81

making a few ripples in the pond

That's a new one to me, I admit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:19 PM
horizontal rule
82

81: "Frog pond," young Ben. Frog for French and etc.

I'm sorry you made me spell that one out. I am aware of all internet traditions, and I of course disavow all forms of prejudice.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:24 PM
horizontal rule
83

can she do "WORSE"???

Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
84

Not to mention you're actually voting for McCain.

Though I somehow can't quite convince myself that you're either coming back or worth the effort of talking to.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
85

McCain is a guy, by the way.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
86

All the "quotes" in 78 have me all mixed up about the use/mention distinction. Or are they marking emphasis? Guys?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:31 PM
horizontal rule
87

Good grief.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:32 PM
horizontal rule
88

C'mon, the Dems just fucked up badly on the gender front (now, you know that's true, or else you wouldn't be talking about Palin so much, it's almost like you're obsessed or something: she's no threat! and let's keep talking about how she's no threat, just to show the world how much we're not threatened by her!). Just leave it alone, you can't win this round; and instead focus on the economy, where you actually might prevail.

Is what I would say if I were to start my own damn blog!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
89

You'll not win the culture wars in my own lifetime, is what I suspect.

Assuming you mean "win elections based on culture war stuff." The culture wars, non-electoral fronts, have been going fairly poorly for conservatives. That could change in the future, but it's certainly not clear that it will on many issues.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:49 PM
horizontal rule
90

MC, for crying out loud, people are saying exactly that here and there, at least with respect to the obsession over Palin and the need to focus instead on McCain and, you know, the issues more immediately at hand for the country.

Give the Hillary thing a rest. People are talking about Palin not because she's a substitute for Hillary (qua woman) but because she's a representative in the stupid culture war the Republicans have decided to resurrect.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:50 PM
horizontal rule
91

Oi. This post made me feel really guilty, because I just tried to restart my blog today (hopefully with the help of a couple friends). And yeah, I'll probably write about politics...

Ah crap.

88: I don't think the important people actually are focused on Palin. The Obama campaign acts like she doesn't even exist unless directly asked about her. As for the meritocratic left, like us, I think there's a legitimate focus on her because she's a superb symbol of the depressing reality that a sizable portion of the voting populace not only hates all our cultural values, but doesn't even care if the person they elect to spit in our faces is competent at the very basics of governance. Seriously, it's just kind of mind-blowing that she was chosen. I still can't believe it, I still sorta think we got punked. And yet, there she is on the news each day. This is like when Cheney shot a dude in the face. It's going to keep coming up in disproportion to its actual importance simply because it's proof of the bizarre surreality we live in.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:53 PM
horizontal rule
92

MC, for crying out loud, people are saying exactly that here and there, at least with respect to the obsession over Palin and the need to focus instead on McCain

No. I'm sorry, but no, that is not at all the case. Here (and also there, wherever there might be, but the liberal blogosphere in general, let's say), I see much more anti-Palin than anti-McCain sentiment and argument. Much more. Considerably more. Just disingenuous to suggest otherwise, I think.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-08 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
93

On topic, I wonder how many of the people thinking about starting to blog think about how few people read multiple blogs or regularly add new blogs to the list of blogs that they read. It's not really a deterrent to writing a blog that you and some people you know will read, but if you're going for national election influence, it's going to take more than just starting a blog to start a blog that enough people read to make a difference. I don't read letters to the editor often, but I bet if I had one published more people would read it than read my blogging. It would only take maybe 5 or 6 readers to do that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:01 AM
horizontal rule
94

92: Eh, after the shock of "who the hell *is* this woman" wore off, most of the liberal bloggers I read moved on to using Palin to attack McCain (pointing out just how poorly she was vetted, and how that reflects on McCain's judgment, e.g.), and this week that move has been even more pronounced. I think accusations of disingenuousness are a little premature.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
95

92: Pay attention. I said people are saying that here and there: that we should move along from Palin. See hilzoy lately; see Drum at Mother Jones. If you want the liberal blogosphere.

Of course there's still a ridiculous amount of Palin coverage, and a good deal of it is in response to the mainstream media attention to her. And that's in part because the blogosphere takes part of its job to be witness to and critic of the mainstream media. It plays into their game in that: you're right there, if that's even what you're suggesting. I have supplied the more substantial suggestion for you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
96

Pay attention. I said people are saying that here and there: that we should move along from Palin.

Yeah well, are people listening to them? If you are paying attention, you will quickly notice that so far they are not. So the message bears repeating, I guess, and its repeat hardly warrants your strange 'get over Hillary' outburst.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:18 AM
horizontal rule
97

Yeah well, are people listening to them? If you are paying attention, you will quickly notice that so far they are not.

This seems like a situation in which specifics would be helpful. Which blogs do you read, Mary Catherine?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:19 AM
horizontal rule
98

Ben is playing dirty pool on the Friday puzzler thread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:24 AM
horizontal rule
99

Actually, I rather like football.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:27 AM
horizontal rule
100

96: My 'get over Hillary' outburst (which was an outburst) was in response to your remark in 88 that C'mon, the Dems just fucked up badly on the gender front, which I assumed was a reference to Hillary.

As for whether anybody is listening to the liberal blogosphere, I thought we'd already agreed that nobody cares what you say on your blog.

Seriously, who are these people who might be paying attention to calls to shut up about Palin? And how can we tell whether they're paying any attention? Is it the mainstream media? They don't care what anybody outside their own tribe says.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
101

97: Just go to the front page of Talking Points Memo. I currently count three Palin headlines to one McCain at the top of the page. Am I making this up? No, get thee to TPM right now, and tell me I'm wrong about this. I can't even bear to go the diaries, what with the kooky gestational conspiracy theories to which Josh Marshall has played host of late, but I would be very surprised if Palin didn't outnumber McCain in that arena as well.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:32 AM
horizontal rule
102

MC, yeah. TPM is ridiculous with the Palin stuff lately. I guess I wonder how far his reach is; is he really setting a tone, or is he just marginalizing himself, if he's not already just another page on the internet? TPM has a large readership, I know; not as large as the Huffington Post (which I rarely look at, actually, so I dunno what they're talking about).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:40 AM
horizontal rule
103

101: Ah, see, the right column of TPM's front page doesn't even register with me; I was looking at the left column (the blog itself) and trying to figure out what you were talking about. And I think the blog supports what I was saying; it's about evenly split between posts that attack Palin and those that attack McCain, but virtually all of the Palin posts tie their attacks back to the campaign's pattern of lying. And as long as that's the focus, I don't think it's a bad thing to be directing attention towards Palin.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:55 AM
horizontal rule
104

Boy I love me some semicolons. Greatest punctuation mark ever.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:56 AM
horizontal rule
105

Now that I have your attention....know that education alone is "NOT the ANSWER"!!! Look at Enron, Savings & Loan, now the housing thing! YUP...all educated! What "we" need is someone well educated, "as well as with genuine MORAL obligations"! Now under which of the previous categories would you put "Welfare" given to many... for generations yet... to keep them under their control? (and at the tax payers expense?) Or "WHY" would one give illegal aliens compensation, when "rightfully it belongs to nursing home residents" who have gone through their total life savings and have "paid taxes all their life"?? And, how about giving "our VET's complete care" for their service to and for us to be free to vote? And, yes I was too one of you for about 30 years , "UNTIL" I woke up!!! My reason? To give to the undeserving is called out right "stupidity" and with my tax dollars yet! No way.


Posted by: D.D. | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:57 AM
horizontal rule
106

Who told Kaye Grogan she could comment here?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 1:14 AM
horizontal rule
107

The focus on Palin may have as much to do with the length of the campaign than anything. Barack Obama's been on the nightly news close to every night for a year and a half straight now. Ditto for McCain. There just isn't that much left to say about either guy that hasn't been said a hundred times already.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 1:42 AM
horizontal rule
108

As for me, I'll vote for the lipstick! I ask can she do "WORSE"???

The risk that McCain will survive has already been noted above, but I think this raises an interesting and under-discussed point.

In what sense is Palin worse than McCain? Is anyone prepared to make a competence argument that favors McCain?

McCain is nearly as nuts as Palin on social issues (though sometimes a bit embarrassed about it), and just outright crazy elsewhere. Which is worse: Not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is, or having been a sincere endorser of it from Day 1?

If it came to a choice between the two, I'd take Palin - and this is another reason MC is right: Leaving aside the optics of singling out the woman for attack, the anti-Palin argument is one of the lesser anti-McCain arguments on merit.

Unfortunately apo is also correct in 107. Given Palin's lack of exposure, it's almost inevitable that the media are going to be giving her an inordinate amount of attention.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 2:04 AM
horizontal rule
109

Has anyone else noticed conservative trolls showing up in comments at blogs where previously there hadn't been any except long-time regulars? I suppose I could be wrong about seeing a recent upsurge, but my guess is that there is a real one and it's coordinated. In 2004 when, admittedly, I was still fairly new to blogs and read a smaller number, I noticed a number of trolls - or at least their pseudonyms - disappeared shortly after the election.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 3:09 AM
horizontal rule
110

A well-written, well-focussed letter that makes a solid point has very good chances.

Yes, totally true. I have written a total of three letters to the editor in my lifetime, and they were all published--including one in a mass-circulation national publication. The key, as Emerson says, is focus. Approach one topic (i.e. not"McCain is wrong on all the issues, and let me tell you why one by one, and by the way the media is unfair to Obama for ignoring this..."). Not being the 1,049th letter on the same topic is helpful, as is being obviously distinct from an organized letter-writing campaign. Also, keep in mind that the letter is going to be truncated anyway, so you might as well make it super pithy from the get-go.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 3:26 AM
horizontal rule
111

So "A Disquisition upon divers Questions of Politick and Gouvernment, encompassing Subjects both Foreign and Domestikcal, which I am taking note of concerning the presente Election" is not likely to be published?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 3:32 AM
horizontal rule
112

In what sense is Palin worse than McCain?

McCain would go to war with Iran on purpose; Palin wouldn't even realise what she was getting into.

I also think that at least McCain will play the game; he might be a mindbogglingly bad President, but he's acculturated to Washington, and I think he'll have some very basic standards of professional courtesy and competence. I see no reason to assume Palin would.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 3:35 AM
horizontal rule
113

Has anyone else noticed conservative trolls showing up in comments at blogs where previously there hadn't been any except long-time regulars?....[M]y guess is that there is a real [upsurge] and it's coordinated.

Wait a minute... If solipsistic Obama-blogging is worthless at best and possibly counterproductive if it crowds out more useful activities, and if conservative trolls disrupt the normal pattern of Obama-blogging, then the conservative trolls are actually helping Obama! The McCain-Palin campaign is shooting itself in the foot!* Or maybe the trolls are, in fact, in the employ of the Obama campaign!

*a lot of low-quality, low-value production is the predictable outcome of an incentive system that mindlessly rewards production quotas. See also "U.S.S.R., economy of".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 3:38 AM
horizontal rule
114

Listen everyone...I am still a liberal at heart!!! Only now I give to the local Union Gospel Mission for assistance to those without jobs, and now donate to the Disabled American Veterans. Do you all realize "we are Family" in spite of the two parties? And families care for one another...and BOTH parties are not knowledgeable on or behalf?

Are you "aware" of the fact that now Muslims are getting prayer rooms, foot baths and you name it in "all" colleges, universities, and hospitals at the tax payers expense...while public school prayer's out lawed? How did this "double standard come about"? Our Supreme Court Justice's didn't have the moral/common sense to check the records in history of the "Preamble to the States" which reads "every
states oath taken to the dedication of God"? (check for yourselves.) So you may say..."big deal about the Muslims getting free what Christians cannot have". To that I say...'if Obama gets in and "legalizes same sex marriage", it'll be a big blood bath called a "CIVIL WAR"!!! NOW take a good look at what our educated supposed civil leaders are getting us into??? (NO I'm not satisfied with the other party either! To the point here that I just may not vote for the first time ever! )

By the way, I don't like getting into this upsetting debate, but unless "EVERYONE WAKES UP" before this election and starts asking some "IMPORTANT QUESTIONS" of who they're following and voting for...this "FAMILY" is swiftly about to dissolve perhaps permanently!


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 4:48 AM
horizontal rule
115

Actually, I rather like football.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:00 AM
horizontal rule
116

I am in favor of deleting "D. D.", and this response too. I'd just like to point out that from the beginning the US has been a secular nation, though with many Christians in it, and this was declared many times in many places. And that if we are declared a Christian nation we are no longer a family, since many of us are not Christians, and many Christians do not accept all other Christians as asuch. And that I regard threatening civil war and an unfriendly, destructive act. And that frankly, over the last several years many of the evillest people in American politics have been Christians, and that they have done the US a lot of serious harm. People who are hoping for Armageddon, or who pray for a Supreme Court Justice to die, or declare that 9/11 was God's judgement, or threaten civil war as you just did, have to be regarded as evil. Certainly not part of the family you speak of so nastily.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:14 AM
horizontal rule
117

My favorite evil Christian is Ralph Reed, who some say is not actually a believer even though he was the Republican organizer of the Christian Community for a long time. At a certain point he went free lance and was paid millions by one group of gamblers to recruit Christian voters and volunteers to fight against a different group of gamblers. The Republican Party is a semi-criminal organization distributing graft and stirring up anger, and Christians should be ashamed to be working for it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:21 AM
horizontal rule
118

You wont have to delete me...I quit when you refuse to look up the facts I've posted which says your on your own same path. (at least I tried.)

Goodbye and I wish you all well.

D.D.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:35 AM
horizontal rule
119

You're refusing to look at my facts, D.D. You don't want to be family.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
120

Actually, I rather like football.

Fuck off.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that's not the iconic response, but it's been weeks since I've RTFA, and I can't recall.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:09 AM
horizontal rule
121

I suppose I'm as guilty on the 'start a new blog to help Obama' charge as anyone.

But I'd recommend the Google-ad-buying. For $150, I could get my ads to come up on over 300,000 pages. Only a small percentage of the people even looked at the ads, of course, but if I got just 5% of them glancing at the ad that said

Have a rapist's baby
Sarah Palin opposes letting raped
women have abortions.

I'd be pretty happy about that.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
122

bob recently linked to some stuff from Mark Thoma, who invoked McArdle and Crook discussing how liberals are insufficiently respectful to conservatives, and I think Neil here is another example of liberal contempt for conservatives.

People like D.D. who propose civil war as the natural result of liberalism, or who those who would have rape victims bear the children of their attackers, are people we should be especially nice to, because saying we're smarter or more decent - even treating them with polite condescension, as Emerson does above - just makes it all worse.

Right?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
123

Ben is playing dirty pool on the Friday puzzler thread.

Moi?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
124

118: You do not really wish us well. Whether you are evil I do not know, but too many Christians treat their religion as a get-out-of-jail free card. You are judged the same as everyone else is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
125

122: Contempt? I can't say it's an emotion I feel towards conservatives very often. I'd probably feel it more often if I watched political stuff on TV, but I find that emotionally overstimulating so I mostly stick to text-based political info.

Mostly it's just anxiety that they'll win and bad things will happen, or various forms of anger/horror that they're using their power in terrible ways.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
126

I quit when you refuse to look up the facts I've posted

You haven't posted any facts. You've posted a bunch of gibberish and nonsense. Thanks for playing, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
127

My 'get over Hillary' outburst (which was an outburst)

It's terrible, but I'll say it: I won't be over Hillary until we win this thing. If she was on top of the ticket the Democrats would be up 5-10 points now. (And that's not about Palin being a woman, it's about Obama being a celebrity candidate who hasn't managed to strike the right populist chord). If Obama wins this, then I'll be over everything.

I'm not over 2000, not over 2004, not over anything, except to the extent that I'm over politics, which I can occasionally manage at the price of a generally increased cynicism about human affairs. We have to live under these jerks for years after an election.

OK, now *that* was an outburst.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
128

If she was on top of the ticket the Democrats would be up 5-10 points now.

Assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
129

128: Let's be honest: makes up facts not in evidence.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
130

If Hillary counts as a populist we might as well quit, PGD.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
131

Hey guys...

Know that dictators and serial killers (men) have been in "spawned in vaginas" for at least 2,000 years!!! So GIRLS...claim it and own it!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
132

Now that I have your attention, if Hillary was at the top of the ticket, we'd be up 25 points, and she'd roam the streets in a mango pantsuit, beheading non believers with a liberal sword of justice.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
133

she'd roam the streets in a mango pantsuit, beheading non believers with a liberal sword of justice

Yeah, but she promised this in the 2000 Senatorial campaign, too. See how well that turned out.

This is really more of a Grassroots Activism sort of task.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
134

and she'd roam the streets in a mango pantsuit, beheading non believers with a liberal sword of justice.

And then she'd stop for a Slurpee!

max
['And a Slim Jim!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
135

I'm surprised that ANYONE thinks Hillary's "populist" status would last more than two weeks as soon as her opponent was that heroic everyman McCain guy. Did we ever hear anything in the primary about the hundreds of millions of mysterious donations to the Clinton library, whatever that is, from shady international oligarchs? No, but we'd sure be hearing about it by now. It even fits in with this existing but dormant media narrative, which would be even more salient now that people are aware of China's ambitions.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
136

he'd roam the streets in a mango pantsuit, beheading non believers with a liberal sword of justice

...the Cock of Righteous Vengeance being unavailable to her, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, PGD, relax: you've found a cutie who likes to make out like a horny teenager, and Barack Obama is going to be the next President.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
137

I don't intend to vote for Barack Obama in November.

I have an excellent reason for saying this.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
138

Not a citizen would be my first guess.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
139

Did you already send in your absentee ballot? "I voted for Barack Obama in September! Take that, slowpokes!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
140

Are you a goldfish and the bowl you were in was knocked over?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
141

Anyway, PGD, relax: you've found a cutie who likes to make out like a horny teenager

Huh, I missed this news. Congrats, PGD! And yes, you should be relaxed about politics then.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
142

he'd [she'd] roam the streets in a mango pantsuit

Damn, this is still making me laugh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
143

138 to 140.

Except I'm a shark.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
144

Not a citizen would be my first guess.

Or convicted felon.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
145

The shit McManus has been talking about hits the fan tomorrow.

It's disgusting to have the election campaign being almost entirely dominated by chaff and lies thrown up by the people who have caused the problems. Even some of the NRO wingers are appalled by McCain and Palin, but they may still win.

I think that we should be totally unforgiving of operatives who change their minds right when the disastrous consequences of their career of fraud manifest themselves.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
146

145: So, is capitalism about to collapse or something? Inquiring minds want to know.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
147

Capitalism is about to collapse. The world will look up and tug on my mango pantsuit and shout 'Save us!' And I'll look down, and whisper 'no.'"


Posted by: HRC | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
148

147: I prefer your powder blue pantsuit, actually. Softens your image.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
149

Mango-ginger pantsuit would be awesome.

144: So far, I've always got away with it.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
150

The world will look up and tug on my mango pantsuit and shout 'Save us!' And I'll look down, and whisper 'no.'"

Shouldn't that be a Rorschach pantsuit?

max
['Big Blue 82.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
151

God, now financial crises that were anticipated by anyone paying attention are now credited to Bob.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
152

So I just signed up to make calls to NH at the Obama website, but I'm kind of scared of what's going to happen when I click "make call" because I went through all the screens and haven't yet seen a script or anything. You don't want me ad libbing to some stranger on the phone, you'll lose votes instead of gain them. Has anyone else done this program and actually been given a script to follow?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
153

The McMahon event is quite a lot bigger than the events predicted by others.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
154

I mostly glaze over when Bob is ranting, but I'm also fairly sure that this isn't the crisis he was predicting (which was more of an Oil Drum/superspike situation, causing economic meltdown when oil hit $250 a barrel).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
155

You don't want me ad libbing to some stranger on the phone, you'll lose votes instead of gain them.

That's what I thought for a while. Then I read that thing in the New Republic about the recent studies on which GOTV techniques work and which don't, and realized that what I am really trying to do is give people who already agree with me that extra push to go vote. NOT trying to convince people.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
156

Bob has been following the econobloggers in some detail and trying unsuccessfully to bring them to our attention. If I weren't so fatalistic I probably would have joined him. Peak oil and the housing market meltdown reinforce one another, and Bush has also forced a overnment fiscal crisis down the road.

When Bob isn't doing his performance art he's smarter than most people here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
157

Peak oil and the housing market meltdown reinforce one another, and Bush has also forced a overnment fiscal crisis down the road.

Only in that they both cause stress to the financial markets (and the American people); they actually act against one another in other ways, which is why you've seen oil pull back from $145 to under $100 immediately pre-Ike, as China stops its Olympics construction boom and hunkers down for a recession. One is inflationary, one is deflationary. A relatively mild global recession may in fact help reduce the likelihood of peak oil in the immediate future.

Bob has been following the econobloggers in some detail and trying unsuccessfully to bring them to our attention.

Reading Mark Thoma and Calculated Risk educates one, but this isn't Aristotle in the bath we're talking about. People other than Bob have been talking about the increasing shakiness in the financial markets for some time. Nouriel Roubini counts as an econoblogger, I guess?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
158

I understand that you feel justified ignoring Bob for your own reasons, but he's often right. He's the Unfoggetarian who cites Roubini.

I'm not nominating Bob for the Bank of Sweden Prize, I'm just saying that, annoying as he is, he's been talking about something, and it seems to be here.

Recession would delay the impact of Peak Oil, but that's all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
159

This seems to say that the crisis is openended in the sense that no one can guess how bad it will be.

Naked Capitalism seems pretty alarmed too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
160

159 - As I just said on another board, I think the Treasury had to let something on Wall Street fail to demonstrate that they would after the plausibly-illegal Bear Sterns rescue. Lehman got to be that crash test dummy. Obviously peoples 401ks are going to take a beating tomorrow, but if I'm worried about anything at the moment, it's AIG, which strikes me as much more likely to trigger something really bad if it topples.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
161

The commenters over at Yglesias's, normally technocrats or worse, are sounding like peasants with pitchforks. Ha.

Recently Drum, Yglesias, and Marshall have been sounding alarmist and immoderate too, more on the election and the media than on the meltdown.

Probably too late.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:26 PM
horizontal rule
162

I guess we need to go off topic and link to every blog we read to prove our bona-fides, then. I read the econo-blogs every day, too. I read Nouriel Roubini well before I read Unfogged.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:28 PM
horizontal rule
163

Emerson you cranky goofball, everybody has been deeply pessimistic about the economy for quite a while now.

Shit, people have been pretty much convinced Lehman would go down since March.

It's not like there have been lone voices in the wilderness, not for some time now. It's just that there isn't much to be done but hope it's more like the late seventies than the early thirties.

As I understand it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
164

They must be gathering provisions.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
165

From an Unfoggetarian perspective, Bob is the one who's been trying to draw our attention to it, more or less unsuccessfully. He's also been the one saying that it will be worse than we expect or are prepared for.

I asked a questions on one site, possibly DeLong, and someone there said, without being contradicted, that the worse case is as bad as 1929.

But we're talking about whatever bullshit McCain wants us to talk about. And I don't really blame us. McCain and his enablers stand between us and the possibility of anything reasonable about done about this situation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
166

||
It isn't as nice a construction, nor as comprehensive a use as Napi proposed the other day, but Joe Biden has begun calling McCain's health care plan a "bridge to nowhere".
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
167

164: I'm sure that by now the Lehmann offices are devoid of nuts and berries.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:41 PM
horizontal rule
168

What I can't figure out is why Bank of America is always the anointed savior in these bail-out scenarios. Are they really in that much better shape than everyone else? Were they just not that exposed to mortgages? It seems hard to believe, but I don't have any specific knowledge.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:41 PM
horizontal rule
169

From an Unfoggetarian perspective, Bob is the one who's been trying to draw our attention to it, more or less unsuccessfully.

Just because people ignore Bob doesn't actually mean people are completely oblivious to the world around him.

Just because people don't talk about something on unfogged doesn't mean they don't know about it, think about it, or talk about it other places.

What odd things to be telling you, John; you knew them already, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
170

No doubt McCain will announce a new economic plan: the creation of the Bank of Victory.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
171

What I can't figure out is why Bank of America is always the anointed savior in these bail-out scenarios. Are they really in that much better shape than everyone else? Were they just not that exposed to mortgages? It seems hard to believe, but I don't have any specific knowledge.

As far as I can tell, they're simply braver/stupider than everyone else. In the last year, they bought LaSalle Bank in Chicagoland (from Dutch bank ABN, which in turn was bought by Spanish banking giant Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland), Countrywide and its incredible portfolio of terrible mortgages (although they didn't guarantee Countrywide's debts, IIRC), and private bank-for-zillionaires U.S. Trust from Charles Schwab. I can't figure out what the hell is going through their heads other than the joke about how when you can't pay the bank ten thousand dollars you have a problem, but if you can't pay the bank ten million dollars...


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
172

165 - Why do you think that? I'm sure there's a half a dozen people here, maybe more, who are perfectly well aware of the situation. Christ, I talk about the banking crisis every day, to my wife's eternal sorrow. I don't talk about it here because my experience is that most people find this stuff incredibly boring.

And yes, the worst case is 1929. The best case is probably something like Japan in 90s -- a decade of economic stagnancy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
173

I defer to the felt group need to shit on Bob.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
174

168, 171: Well... yes, they are in better shape. Plus they were very large to begin with, so they have a larger absolute amount of capital to invest in buying up cheap assets elsewhere. JP Morgan Chase has also done rather well in terms of avoiding the worst of the mortgage securities while being gigantic, so that's why it's also in the negotiations all the time.

A couple retail banks like Wells Fargo have done better in terms of avoiding losses and preserving capital, since they never really got into subprimes in the first place either directly or through holdings CMOs, but they're not big enough to buy these floundering companies, nor are they planning on expanding into investment banking.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
175

We're back to J. P. Morgan. At least Fisk and Gould are no longer with us.

Trivia: the Fisk and Gould Gould was not Jewish, any more than Glenn Gould was.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
176

Emerson you cranky goofball

Hey now! Emerson may be cranky, but he's no goofball. And I seem to recall a bunch of people (not necessarily anyone in this thread, mind you) dismissing Bob's pessimism about the economy as just a form of trolling, just a few months ago.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
177

A couple retail banks like Wells Fargo have done better in terms of avoiding losses and preserving capital, since they never really got into subprimes in the first place either directly or through holdings CMOs, but they're not big enough to buy these floundering companies, nor are they planning on expanding into investment banking.

Wells probably could, in fact, (the size differential between it and JPM is probably less than you think) but it's got significant exposure to the Alt-A market and is just vastly more conservative than BAC as an institution. I think at some level Lewis just wants to rub it in Sandy Weill's face, but that's probably the great man theory of history at work in my little brain.

I spent about three minutes trying to figure out if Singapore ended up making money from their Merrill investment this year, then gave up. I'm curious; if they ended up losing money (I'm pretty sure they didn't, but not positive), I wonder if it will put the kibosh on sovereign funds participating in bailouts.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
178

From LGM:

Could someone please explain what is a "McManus crash" or "event?"

I'm pretty sure Bob McManus hasn't made it into anyone's economics textbook. (He's a frequent commenter at Ezra Kein's and other blogs.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
179

170- The McCain plan is to sit down with some sacks of money and tell them to cut the bullshit?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
180

When I am finished with my work, and once the dust has settled, everyone in the world will know what a McManus Event is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
181

Could someone please explain what is a "McManus crash"

Oh geez, I initially read that as "McManus crush," and I thought, Well, I know he's well-liked by the laydeez, but I had no idea it had gone that far!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
182

The events of the weekend make wonder if there's something to Ari's theory that years of Republican administration have undermined civic virtue. It looks like the other players at the table were sure that they could intimidate the government into taking on all of the bad assets.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
183

Christ, that was fast. B of A bought Merrill.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
184

if there's something to Ari's theory that years of Republican administration have undermined civic virtue.

There was doubt?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
185

Christ, that was fast. B of A bought Merrill.

Lehman is allowed an orderly liquidation, which I assume means it is actually being bailed out the same way Bear-Sterns was, except in pieces. The Fed is extending the reach of the credit windows again, so they're going to cover AIG instead of Lehman.

My.

if there's something to Ari's theory that years of Republican administration have undermined civic virtue.

I thought they just redefined civic virtue to mean 'whatever makes you rich'.

the other players at the table were sure that they could intimidate the government into taking on all of the bad assets.

Looks to me like the Feds are perfectly happy to buy everything, they just don't want to look like they're buying everything.

max
['This is better than football.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
186

Actually I rather like banks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
187

186: Well, banks are evil, Stanley, and let me assure you, they are your fair-weather friends at best. But don't we all love the banks when we have money to invest, just so long as they remain solvent?

If you invest your tuppence
Wisely in the bank
Safe and sound
Soon that tuppence,
Safely invested in the bank,
Will compound.

I used to work with this guy who hated the banks so much, he would double-staple the currency to the envelope instead of just slipping it in, just to be an arsehole, because then someone at the bank would have to carefully de-staple without tearing the bills. So I once asked him, 'Well, what do you hope to accomplish by this ploy?' this small, but futile, act of defiance, is what I meant. 'Oh nothing at all,' he admitted, he just hated the banks. He also hated when a man referred to his wife as "the Wife" or "Herself," he swore he would never do that himself, once married (he was still single, of course), and I was inclined to give him credit for that.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
188

I find it oddly reassuring that Merrill was able to negotiate a reasonable price. BofA isn't a bunch of philanthropists - presumably there's something there worth buying.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
189

Banks are people too. Let's not be so harsh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
190

187: Paging MC. Paging MC to the Standpipe-blog courtesy phone.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
191

I think that phone may actually be ringing for you, Stanley.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
192

Ask not for whom the Standpipe courtesy phone rings. It rings for thee, not MC.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
193

Banks are people too.

Well, maybe in America the banks are colourful characters whose individuality we should respect, and even celebrate in parade floats on "Small Town Civic Pride Day." But in Canada, the banks are financial Leviathans, and centralized monsters. And nobody with half a functioning brain would attempt to tell you differently, unless his name were David Frum.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
194

191-2: See, this one time...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
195

191, 192 to 194!

Double-reverse! Ka-pow!

Put that in the bank and smoke it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
196

Well, BoA is apparently going for Canadian citizenship. The question is, is can they pull it off? Will they be welcomed by cheering throngs or will they be declared hosers and then fed to bears? Or will they just go 'Ha ha! Just foolin'! Buy us, O Treasury!'

max
['I rather like suspense.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
197

or will they be declared hosers and then fed to bears?

Extremely unlikely they would be declared 'hosers.' That's a term of opprobrium/affection that we tend to reserve to our own. I like the 'feeding to the bears' concept, though.

Alas, Junior Boy Harper is probably going to win the forthcoming election, and he's GOP-wannabe. Stéphane Dion is a good man, and fundamentally decent, and with many good ideas about policy. But he's too intellectual/academic to know how to put up a good fight. One of my sisters met him on the Ottawa River Parkway (yeah, Canada really is a small country like that: back me up here, DS), and she spoke to him en français, and she says he seemed "distracted, but very sweet." God, why not offer to drive Conservative voters to the polls on election day? They should have picked Gerard Kennedy, not so classy as Dion, admittedly, but he knows how to put up a good fight.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
198

Christ, that was fast. B of A bought Merrill.

Holy shit! I guess they saw the writing on the wall with the market starting to move against them, figured it would be a slow steady death spiral if they tried to fight for liquidity on the way down, and decided to take the best offer they could get. I'm actually sort of surprised BofA took the deal, when they probably could have gotten it for cheaper by just waiting. But hey.

Now to find out what the hell's going to happen to AIG, since that's the case I found more interesting than Merrill anyway. Since they had the $3 billion bond issue that auctioned off at like an 8.25% yield, I've been wondering what could be done about them. They're god damn huge, and a collapse or rescue would be insanely messy due to the sheer number of policies they're carrying as well as their trading books.

Also, snarkout, how could Temasek have made a profit off the Merrill investment? It was made at $48 per share, whereas this buyout is happening at about $24. I'm pretty sure virtually all of the foreign investments in the banks are underwater, as are the hedge fund investments from the first round of refinancing.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
199

Also, snarkout, how could Temasek have made a profit off the Merrill investment? It was made at $48 per share, whereas this buyout is happening at about $24.n

Didn't they have a make-whole agreement in place that triggered like, last week? Or am I confusing their deal with the TPG/WM tie-up?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
200

||

Hey, Washington D.C. -- wanna take me somewhere cool for happy hour tomorrow? I'm meeting friends for dinner around 8:30 in either Capitol Hill or U street corridor but would love to front-load.

Wrongshore at GMail, just like the link says.

And I have time to play museums during the day til Wedsy noon.

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
201

199: Hmm... Possibly. I don't remember ever seeing mention of make-whole agreements, which is part of why I was laughing at those sovereign wealth and hedge funds the whole time. But it could easily just have been missed by me. I don't read the major econ blogs as often as I should.

Also, on the Lehman bankruptcy, wow. Have they even made any attempt at shifting Lehman's trading books onto someone? Because, yeah, even though I bet people have been trying to trade around Lehman for a while, that's one hell of a counterparty to go south. And that much collateral tied up while the courts decide who gets what could produce a major freeze. Ouch.

(I actually had exposure to Lehman preferred. Guess that ain't coming back.)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
202

I'm actually sort of surprised BofA took the deal, when they probably could have gotten it for cheaper by just waiting. But hey.

Kedrosky seems to think Merrill has been shopping itself for a while; other offers were on the table to compete with BoA. Treasury may have given BoA a big slap on the back, since they seem to be aiming to be the Only Bank In America anyways. Why not encourage them to shore up the market.

So they let Lehman go, and save AIG next weekend, since AIG is more important. That way, nobody criticizes them for socialism.

The important question is how can any part of the financial system escape the black hole now forming? It's too late to run the printing presses until they melt.

I like the 'feeding to the bears' concept, though.

Dear Canada,

Please send armed bears.

Sincerely,
Your Neighbors

Alas, Junior Boy Harper is probably going to win the forthcoming election, and he's GOP-wannabe.

How is it, exactly, that all the euro-type countries with the much stronger welfare states all elect right-wingish people right around the time American capitalism collapses?

max
['I mean, that just makes no sense.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
203

201: There was a netting trade session among derivatives dealers today.

202: Why are you so sure that the government is going to bail out AIG? The media is reporting that AIG asked the Fed for help, but I'm not seeing anywhere it says that the Fed said yes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
204

The important question is how can any part of the financial system escape the black hole now forming?

Now forming? Oh somebody hasn't been listening to McManus.

The answer, of course, is government bonds!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
205

202: Why are you so sure that the government is going to bail out AIG? The media is reporting that AIG asked the Fed for help, but I'm not seeing anywhere it says that the Fed said yes.

Wasn't there the equity framitz-a-whoo-zee they just set up? Doesn't that shift risk and, hopefully, keep AIG from getting downgraded? Or am I misunderstanding?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
206

205: I thought that was to help liquidate Lehman. I don't think it does anything for AIG, but I'm not sure of that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
207

They should have picked Gerard Kennedy, not so classy as Dion, admittedly, but he knows how to put up a good fight.

Mary Catherine, your feebly disguised pro-Hillary allegories will not be tolerated here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
208

So, let's say theoretically that the majority of my assets are in the form of Bank of America stock, which has gone from 52 to 18 to now 33. And over the last couple years I've read several books that recommend nothing but index funds and always index funds, and yet continued to be unconvinced that trends of the last 70 years will continue into the future, so I did nothing with my assets.

So, have I been really lucky so far that it wasn't the one that went down? My thought has always been no, because it's not an investment bank. Is the worst over? Should I sell it all and immediately diversify into all kinds of things that are crazily going up and down just like the stock is?>


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
209

So, have I been really lucky so far that it wasn't the one that went down?

Yes.

Should I sell it all and immediately diversify into all kinds of things that are crazily going up and down just like the stock is?

No.

This has been an edition of "why the fuck would you listen to me?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
210

Well, the LEH BK is official. And W-lfs-n would not be happy with how CNBC is, for the moment at least, conveying this important information:

Lehman Brothers Says Its [sic] Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
211
Lehman Brothers Says Its [sic] Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
RULES!
Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
212

208: Your best bet is to convert all of your holdings into cash, make a big pile, and set it on fire.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
213

212: shit don't burn!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:47 PM
horizontal rule
214

Now forming? Oh somebody hasn't been listening to McManus.

Tsk. I was listening to Bob before Bob was. Anyways, you gotta fuse off all the extra crud before you get to the black holey part. Now we have an event horizon!

Why are you so sure that the government is going to bail out AIG? The media is reporting that AIG asked the Fed for help, but I'm not seeing anywhere it says that the Fed said yes.

The collateral eligible to be pledged at the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) has been broadened to closely match the types of collateral that can be pledged in the tri-party repo systems of the two major clearing banks. Previously, PDCF collateral had been limited to investment-grade debt securities.
The collateral for the Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF) also has been expanded; eligible collateral for Schedule 2 auctions will now include all investment-grade debt securities. Previously, only Treasury securities, agency securities, and AAA-rated mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities could be pledged.

Well, they ran a special trading session Sunday to let people bail out of Lehman. (Must be nice.) They're preparing for an orderly unwinding of Lehman but they aren't bailing them out. Or so they say. Meanwhile, they announced this tonight, when it had been obvious that Lehman was dead all day. So: do they really need to engage in the major changes just to allow for an orderly unwinding? Or are they preparing to defend someone else against a run tomorrow? And the answer is... I dunno. Not getting BoA to buy Lehman seems to have thrown a wrench into the works. But AIG seems more important to save than Lehman since Lehman is a set of positions, while AIG could screw up all the counter-party stuff.

So they fail to bail Lehman, take the hit tomorrow and prepare to defend AIG and others against a run and then they bail them out or get a buyer. That smells right.

max
['Of course, they may have decided to let the market cure things, but that makes a total hash of the strategy they've been pursuing.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:50 PM
horizontal rule
215

I think that announcement is to forestall a run on the other investment banks, especially since the government will need their help in liquidating Lehman. For AIG, the issue is not a run, but a bond rating downgrade.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
216

So, have I been really lucky so far that it wasn't the one that went down?

Yes.

My thought has always been no, because it's not an investment bank.

Sorry, but it really was luck.

I'm not sure I'd suggest selling all of it, but it certainly shouldn't be a majority of your assets now. For the love of god, man, diversify!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:04 PM
horizontal rule
217

There was a netting trade session among derivatives dealers today.

That's encouraging. Did they open Lehman's books entirely so that people could make sure to net out all their exposure?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
218

From the point of view of someone who has never actually seen the so-called money that this stock (which was left to me in a will) represents, I've been happy so far getting the dividends, and the stock price is an abstraction. I guess I should sell it and put it in my savings account and then spend a little while deciding what else to do with it.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:09 PM
horizontal rule
219

217: Not that I know of. Would they need to? The participants in the trading session know the terms of the contracts they entered into with Lehman.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
220

I feel like a microcosm of the aristocracy. I don't know how to invest, it all seems both completely random and impossible to comprehend.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
221

See? Burning is both purposeful and easy to understand.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:13 PM
horizontal rule
222

Walt, I think the AIG downgrade's going to happen no matter what. They just want to keep it investment grade. Let's face it, the markets haven't believed that they're investment grade for a while. Due to sheer size and messiness, AIG is really the case that scares me the most.

Also, the fact that nothing's been mentioned about WaMu is fucking crazy. I didn't realize that less than half of their $309 billion in liabilities are insured deposits. There's actually legitimate reason for a run on WaMu, and I bet a lot of their mortgages would fall onto Fannie and Freddie's books if the bank goes south.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
223

218, 220: Well, if you'd like, I'd be perfectly happy to suggest some things. It's sort of what I do, but the standard Caveat Dudeoninternetor terms apply.

To be honest, you could do far worse than cash (money market / savings accounts) at the moment, but there are some asset classes that still look reasonable.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
224

212: shit don't burn!

The banks have the runs.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:23 PM
horizontal rule
225

Do you think the Fed's new relaxed collateral rules are for AIG?

I think there's no way the government allows WaMu to (publicly) fail. If the FDIC took it over, it would start a national panic, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
226

I told you people to short Lehman Brothers! That said, I have no idea what the fuck is going to happen, other than there were a lot of loans made for houses that are now worth way less than is owed, and someone is going to end up getting screwed. Laziness left me with most of my money in cash, which bizarrely has turned out to be a good thing to do, so I plan on keeping on doing nothing.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:35 PM
horizontal rule
227

Wow, I am being defended and marginalized all over everywhere.

The economic catastrophe will now unfold. Oil will have higher highs and higher lows as for the rest of our lives, and godawful spikes. Newberry says this isn't it, that they will muddle thru for another 4-8 years. Then the fucking crash. I don't necessarilty agree, but the int'l system may be different this time. The SWF's are helping rather than competing.

I have seen mentioned seriously a 4000 Dow in the next few years, and an overshoot down on housing. Say 30-50% more decline in prices. Fucking deflation is hell.

Hell, I first got interested in economics and politics in the early 80s. I have always loathed supply-side and monetarism/monetary Keynesism. The 70s, even the early 80s weren't that bad for middle class standards of living.

It could be considerably worse than 1929-33, because the politics has been so bad. We had real socialists around the first time, now we have Rubin & DeLong & Summers. The neo-feudalists could win this depression.

But no, pay me no mind, read Roubini. Jamie HGalbraith. Kunstler? There are plenty of good ones. But people like DeLong and Thoma are deranged by the 30s. I think, for the sake of stability, they would enslave 90% of the world. And it can get so bad, that such a position is defensible.

Roubini says we are in the third inning. I think he is overly optimistic. Economics is about to disappear into politics, lifeboat stuff. Who survives and who doesn't.

Obama needs to get radical right fucking now. And stay radical. I said I don't care what he does, as in dictatorship, if he is reasonable close to my agenda and makes it work. But I really believe he is on the wrong side.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:36 PM
horizontal rule
228

It's possible for an actual human being to short something?

Thanks PMP. I'll comment again tomorrow.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:36 PM
horizontal rule
229

228: Yes. A friend of mine shorted something based on my advice, and promptly lost money.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:38 PM
horizontal rule
230

The Fed is taking equities as collateral? WaMu has 160b in deposits and FDIC has 30-40?

It crossed my mind today that Republicans are trying to bankrupt/kill the Fed and other gov't economic entities.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:42 PM
horizontal rule
231

It's possible for an actual human being to short something?

Of course. You need a brokerage account, and to sign a bunch of paperwork saying that you might lose all your money before you know anything is happening, but yeah.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:42 PM
horizontal rule
232

225: The Fed still hasn't officially expanded use of their credit facilities or the discount window to firms aside from retail and i-banks. If they allow AIG to go to that trough, they'll have a hell of a time denying GMAC, GE Finance, and all the other multi-multi-billion-dollar finance operations that technically don't belong to banks. I suspect those relaxed collateral rules really are to soften the blow of letting Lehman go bankrupt, and to convince the other banks to help take over the unwinding of some of its assets.

I completely agree with you on WaMu, which is why I'm amazed nothing got announced. They're in terrible shape, and I will be surprised if they make it for the full week. Its debt was already well into junk-bond territory before the weekend, and you have to pay about 50% of a WaMu bond's notional value to get it insured for the next 5 years. Absolutely crazy.

And now to sleep, hopefully.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:50 PM
horizontal rule
233

I am so worried about Obama.

If we desperately need a CCC and REA and WPA to keep people from starving, and Republicans + Bluedogs say no way, and Obama tries to impound or something, and the Roberts/Alito court says no way, I am worried that Obama will just say sorry, I tried. But I, Obama, am a liberal Democrat, and we believe in the rule of law. Gotta starve.

Shoot the muthers on the Senate Floor.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-14-08 11:54 PM
horizontal rule
234

This is not Albania.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 12:04 AM
horizontal rule
235

I think there's no way the government allows WaMu to (publicly) fail.

Comes a point when they can't save the free market anymore. Economics disappears. Another 100, 200B, a trillion 2T to save the 1000 banks that may fail...we don't have the money.

The Saudis will carry us a long way, they walked out of OPEC this week. Not so sure about Chinese and Japanese. Bernanke can't just put the printing press on autopilot, because the SWF's get a vote.

How bad can it get? 30s 40s bad, with nukes and no socialists. But maybe not yet, with luck not til I'm dead.

I am so sorry for the younger folk.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
236

234 alerts us to a blog that has sadly gone unmaintained for three years now.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
237

You want fun from the obscurantist genius? For quite a while Newberry kept referring to the Fourth Republic, which IIRC was WWII to DeGaulle.

All I can remember is multiple governments (no majorities), Algeria & Vietnam. I keep meaning to read up on it.

My Fort 500 company is solid as a rock, with top management that worked up from the mailroom, been in place for decades, settles for less than ten million in comp, and makes a little acquisition a month. Fully global. There are plenty of places to put your money.

Good night.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 12:28 AM
horizontal rule
238

237: That's basically right. The Fourth Republic ended when the army attempted a coup because the government was planning on pulling out of Algeria.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 12:38 AM
horizontal rule
239

But in Canada, the banks are financial Leviathans, and centralized monsters.

Canadians all realised at an early age from reading Anne of Green Gables that the cosy local bank could collapse and leave you ruined.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 4:10 AM
horizontal rule
240

Actually I rather like banks.

I hate banks.


Posted by: Mojo Nixon | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
241

Economics is about to disappear into politics, lifeboat stuff. Who survives and who doesn't.

And I think that's a bit early yet, Bob. That's the agenda for the next four years.

You want fun from the obscurantist genius? For quite a while Newberry kept referring to the Fourth Republic, which IIRC was WWII to DeGaulle.

Well, he was running the naming scheme for the Freanch model on the US system, which ostensibly hasn't changed since 1789, but of course, major changes were made in the de facto structures beginning in 1865, 1932 and presumably now. (And lo, we sure have a different kind of government than we had in 2001.)

I suspect those relaxed collateral rules really are to soften the blow of letting Lehman go bankrupt, and to convince the other banks to help take over the unwinding of some of its assets.

They may be trying cover all the banks, true, but we're really talking about what their strategy is - save everybody and prevent deflation or fuck it, nevermind, let them go? Personally I'd think if they're going to let AIG go, they might very well let WaMu go.

I think they really wanted to get a deal done for Lehman and couldn't and now the queue is starting to fill up.

I hate banks.

MOJJJJJJJJ!

max
['We demand barbeque!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
242

We are now in the First Empire.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
243

They may be trying cover all the banks, true, but we're really talking about what their strategy is - save everybody and prevent deflation or fuck it, nevermind, let them go?

Well... I think they're just encouraging all the shit to come out into the open through a process of massive consolidation. This credit window for banks is what allows BofA, JPM, and any of the other well-capitalized banks to take on piles of still-risky assets from any failing financial firm, including AIG, GMAC, and all the other non-banks. As those non-banks unload their assets, they're taking the losses and the true values of firms' books are becoming known, which is the essential step before rebuilding can start to happen. There's plenty of money on the sidelines, it just refuses to invest until it knows exactly what assets its buying.

This will make things interesting in the long run as the financial regulators are going to have a hell of a time splitting up the behemoths they're encouraging now. I expect BofA and whoever takes on a retail bank between now and the end to be forced to do regional spin-offs.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
244

Personally I'd think if they're going to let AIG go, they might very well let WaMu go.

That's my Texas money to pay for Ike reconstruction you're talking about, pardner.

Ike put AIG in decent hardball negotiating shape. They'll get saved.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
245

I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Things are frightening and too many are relying on relative inaction as a means of supporting Obama. Things are very split, it takes door to door action, sitting down and talking with people who don't know what blogs are, people who can't/don't want to read, people who don't have internet connections. I canvassed and registered voters for Obama this weekend.
After the first few houses I went to, I left thinking 'this country gets what it deserves', but then I came upon a family that said they never voted, but this year they knew they had to. We sat at their kitchen table, talked about the loss of their jobs, the war in Iraq. I registered three people who had never felt the urgency to vote before, three people who will vote for Obama. Sure it doesn't sound like a number that will make a huge difference, but I was only one of 250 people in the eastern Iowa region canvassing that day. I knocked on 19 doors, I had 10 conversations about the future of our nation. I changed some minds and I hate trying to persuade people...but times are desperate and we have to move out of our comfort zones if we are to make a difference. Perhaps we have to initiate change in our everyday lives before we can envision change in our nation as a whole. Baby steps...


Posted by: clo | Link to this comment | 09-15-08 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
246

"Perhaps we have to initiate change in our everyday lives"...good going clo !!! (post 245) Did I not warn of Enron, the Savings & loan crisis, the housing bail out? Now you all "must understand the actual cause of...GREED" !!! Did I not say...education by itself was dangerous without "moral obligations"? Did I not say that we are all "family" and when one is hurt, all are affected?

Someone wrote.."what facts did you post"? Did anyone bother to key in "Preamble to the states" to check what is declared in it? (although some states have now changed their "preamble to suit their current senators & congressmen who have chosen a path of reproach".) Now there is about a vote to take place to remove all "Ten Commandments" from all courthouses! Therefore they are bent on removing the "God" which had made it a great nation! (in my opinion the ACLU is the true cause of what is the greatest downfall this nation has ever experienced!) Know that this nation declared "freedom of denominations of Christian teaching"...NOT freedom for all religions! (the "Ten Commandments" PROVES which God and the religion which "kills infidels" is the one who is working on this which has now been let in under false interpretation of "freedom of religion" and by "educated lawyers without moral obligations"!

Are you aware that going into Iraq was a "brilliant plan"? Iraq is the "heart of radical Islam's" and the mid point between Mecca and Afghanistan. And, are you aware that the providence that "killed so many of our troops" has now been turned over to the Iraqi's to be governed in a Democratic way? Now ask...why our media doesn't report this? Could this be... "greed again be buying off truth"? However I too agree this nation can no longer "afford" to stay there no matter how much good our troops are doing over there"!

Now "before" anyone comments on "Christians", we too know there are many who say they are and are NOT!!! Therefore read scriptures that tell you the "muslims" will control all nations and "what better way to get in than president"? McCain may not be all what we want in at this time, but we know he is at least morally committed to this nation. (family)


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:52 AM
horizontal rule
247

I think I've read 246 before, on the side of a shampoo bottle.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:41 AM
horizontal rule
248

read scriptures that tell you the "muslims" will control all nations

Go ahead, tell me the chapter and verse on that one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:53 AM
horizontal rule
249

I don't think I would ever short a stock, but I might buy a put option.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:49 AM
horizontal rule
250

OT bleg: In my primary today I count as a low-information voter. I'm trying to find information on the nominees for Governor's Council, whose main responsibility is screening the Governor's nominees for judicial appointments. I think that they also deal with parole issues. The incumbent Marilyn Devaney sounds like a drip. Thomas Walsh failed to provide any information to imagine.com a website devoted to profiling candidates for election in MA. I've read elsewhere that he's a retired firefighter. John, "Jack" Doyle is retired and worked in risk management for an academic hospital; he's touting his experience with malpractice cases as proof that he understands the court system and how clerks work. Does this mean that he's going to lean toward "tort reform" minded judges. Does anyone from Massachusetts know?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
251

248: You need to order your Bible decoder ring first.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
252

Iraq is the "heart of radical Islam's" and the mid point between Mecca and Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia is the heart of radical Islam and the midpoint between Mecca and Afghanistan would be southern Iran or Oman.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:58 AM
horizontal rule
253

D.D., formal government recognition of The Ten Commandments would violate the solemn obligations we entered into with The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified unanimously by Congress in 1797 and commemorated in the Marine Hymn:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
254

252: the midpoint between Mecca and Afghanistan would be southern Iran or Oman

So that part was wrong?? Hmm, maybe I need to reevaluate the rest of it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
255

I was speaking of the "huge providence" in Iraq that were working for Bin Laden and used his control techniques. Although they're (radicals) now completely gone, they had a number like (I'm guessing now) 18 in that providence. which too had a name I can not at this time recall.

As to the "Treaty of Tripoli", I can not at this time make a comment because this is "new" to me. And, would anyone here know the exact time/year of the placement of the "Ten Commandments"? Somehow something doesn't sound correct here.

I will also tell you what "most churches" will not tell you. That being the church by itself "cannot save you" no matter the amount of $$$ one gives monetarily! At the same time I can NOT save either! I feel this is very "important" for everyone to know because of recent cults" claiming they were, "who they were not". As for me, I do not attend a church at all... simply because I'm not about to chance my eternity to any human. then too, there have been churches that have gone the same route as Enron, ect., ect.!

I will be gone for about a week and a half, so no more comments for that period. However "if" the moderator wants this to end, I'll honor his request.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
256

I was speaking of the "huge providence" in Iraq that were working for Bin Laden and used his control techniques. Although they're (radicals) now completely gone, they had a number like (I'm guessing now) 18 in that providence. which too had a name I can not at this time recall.

As to the "Treaty of Tripoli", I can not at this time make a comment because this is "new" to me. And, would anyone here know the exact time/year of the placement of the "Ten Commandments"? Somehow something doesn't sound correct here.

I will also tell you what "most churches" will not tell you. That being the church by itself "cannot save you" no matter the amount of $$$ one gives monetarily! At the same time I can NOT save either! I feel this is very "important" for everyone to know because of recent cults" claiming they were, "who they were not". As for me, I do not attend a church at all... simply because I'm not about to chance my eternity to any human. then too, there have been churches that have gone the same route as Enron, ect., ect.!

I will be gone for about a week and a half, so no more comments for that period. However "if" the moderator wants this to end, I'll honor his request.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
257

I was speaking of the "huge providence" in Iraq that were working for Bin Laden and used his control techniques. Although they're (radicals) now completely gone, they had a number like (I'm guessing now) 18 in that providence. which too had a name I can not at this time recall.

As to the "Treaty of Tripoli", I can not at this time make a comment because this is "new" to me. And, would anyone here know the exact time/year of the placement of the "Ten Commandments"? Somehow something doesn't sound correct here.

I will also tell you what "most churches" will not tell you. That being the church by itself "cannot save you" no matter the amount of $$$ one gives monetarily! At the same time I can NOT save either! I feel this is very "important" for everyone to know because of recent cults" claiming they were, "who they were not". As for me, I do not attend a church at all... simply because I'm not about to chance my eternity to any human. then too, there have been churches that have gone the same route as Enron, ect., ect.!

I will be gone for about a week and a half, so no more comments for that period. However "if" the moderator wants this to end, I'll honor his request.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
258

I was speaking of the "huge providence" in Iraq that were working for Bin Laden and used his control techniques. Although they're (radicals) now completely gone, they had a number like (I'm guessing now) 18 in that providence. which too had a name I can not at this time recall.

As to the "Treaty of Tripoli", I can not at this time make a comment because this is "new" to me. And, would anyone here know the exact time/year of the placement of the "Ten Commandments"? Somehow something doesn't sound correct here.

I will also tell you what "most churches" will not tell you. That being the church by itself "cannot save you" no matter the amount of $$$ one gives monetarily! At the same time I can NOT save either! I feel this is very "important" for everyone to know because of recent cults" claiming they were, "who they were not". As for me, I do not attend a church at all... simply because I'm not about to chance my eternity to any human. then too, there have been churches that have gone the same route as Enron, ect., ect.!

I will be gone for about a week and a half, so no more comments for that period. However "if" the moderator wants this to end, I'll honor his request.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
259

I was speaking of the "huge providence" in Iraq that were working for Bin Laden and used his control techniques. Although they're (radicals) now completely gone, they had a number like (I'm guessing now) 18 in that providence. which too had a name I can not at this time recall.

As to the "Treaty of Tripoli", I can not at this time make a comment because this is "new" to me. And, would anyone here know the exact time/year of the placement of the "Ten Commandments"? Somehow something doesn't sound correct here.

I will also tell you what "most churches" will not tell you. That being the church by itself "cannot save you" no matter the amount of $$$ one gives monetarily! At the same time I can NOT save either! I feel this is very "important" for everyone to know because of recent cults" claiming they were, "who they were not". As for me, I do not attend a church at all... simply because I'm not about to chance my eternity to any human. then too, there have been churches that have gone the same route as Enron, ect., ect.!

I will be gone for about a week and a half, so no more comments for that period. However "if" the moderator wants this to end, I'll honor his request.


Posted by: D. D. | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule