Re: You know, from a plane

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If he did, then that would be an obvious way for McCain to distance himself from the Bush administration -- one of Bush's top people is in favor of shooting Sarah Palin in the face, while McCain is staunchly opposed (officially).


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 3:21 PM
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Wait a minute. Has anyone seen Cheney recently? What if he's colonised Palin's body?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 3:32 PM
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Cheney has sublimed.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 3:37 PM
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I heard he died like 6 months ago.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:05 PM
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One way or another I am thinking the chances of Palin actually being in the debate are about 50%. Saw some cable panel discussing how awful it was that the McCain campaign had "broken" Palin* since she has been so much worse in her interviews than in her first two appearances (announcement and convention speech). It was followed by a special report on the mystery of why your family is not as consistently funny as a sitcom family.

*Not that hanging around those lying waterheads wouldn't send anyone over the edge.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:09 PM
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Dick Cheney before he dicks Palin.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:09 PM
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A friend who is in on all the conspiracy theories says there's one going around that Cheney/Rove bullied Mc into picking Palin so if he dies in office (likely), Palin can choose Cheney as VP (no term limits) and let him puppet her. If he doesn't have his arm up to the elbow in the ass of the most powerful person in the world, Dick gets lonely.

I don't buy it, but it's a theory. I go with the one that says they picked Palin because they know this year's a bust and they don't want to tarnish a major GOP person's career. Even Rove has been admitting that Palin's an idiot.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:21 PM
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Tell your friend Congress needs to approve the selection of a new VP.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:25 PM
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5: Yeah, the "broken" thing seems to be a meme I've seen around, and not a bad one. Here's this woman who's used to having the freedom as an executive (PTA pres, mayor, governor) to say whatever she damn well pleases, and now she's having to learn how to spew talking points, and it's really obvious that no one is impressed by her performance. I can't imagine having the nerves of steel that would be required to face another interview, or, God forbid, a debate.

I had to hand it to McCain, though; if I were him, and it was obvious that everyone in America was slowly coming to the realization that I am crazy, desperate, and mendacious, I'd have a hard time debating for 90 minutes on TV. He either lacks all self-consciousness and shame or he has nerves of fucking steel.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:25 PM
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8: I thought so. I am not sure she believes it either, but she does like a good conspiracy theory.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:26 PM
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He either lacks all self-consciousness and shame or he has nerves of fucking steel.

Doesn't the first lead to the other?


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:26 PM
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Also, odds: increasing.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:27 PM
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It's astounding that she couldn't even impress in her "interview" with Hannity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:34 PM
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12: There's also this. I keep wanting to feel bad for her, but then I remember she chose to do this.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:40 PM
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But then, there's that.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:40 PM
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What Democrats should hope for is that McCain, umm, stubs a toe so that Palin moves to the top of the ticket.

Do we really want to see the return of Huckabee?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:45 PM
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16: You honestly think McCain replacing Palin with someone, anyone, would help his chances?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:47 PM
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Noooo, I want Palin to drop out so I can finally enjoy my fantasy of watching Mittens pander to the people!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:47 PM
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17: Really. How could it not be campaign suicide?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:51 PM
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18: But he's such a great retail campaigner!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:51 PM
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Or McCain could finally choose Mr. Joe Lieberman! I just want him to (a) drop Palin, admitting a huge error of judgment, (b) subsequently lose any shred of support from socially conservative women, and then, (c) make some really obvious and craven choice of running mate that screams "clueless and desperate."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:52 PM
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20: GAWD I love that clip. And this magically unfortunate photo.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:54 PM
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I think that going to a bar on debate day was a wise choice. That's what I did. In fact, I frequently go to bars in lieu of doing something more significant. I'm giving her a second look.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:55 PM
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I'd actually be a little nervous about Palin's dropping out, because if she were replaced by, say, Romney, swing voters might feel relieved that the VP is someone who'd be ready. Huckabee's the only won who could hang onto the religious right, but I can't imagine McCain would chance having to spend 4 years with him.

But who knows? It would depend hugely on what people chose to believe about Palin's departure. Methinks they would blame it on the elite liberal media meanies and they'd want to avenge her.

If I were Romney or Huck or whomever, I'd take it. If they win, he gets to be Veep. If they lose, it won't be his fault, because McCain had already fouled things up so badly.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 4:59 PM
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21: No way McCain would admit bad judgment. Palin's official reason would be that she needs to devote more time to raising Trig and/or it's not fair to subject her family to the scrutiny and slurs.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:03 PM
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24: Any of those scenarios, I think, require a much more subservient media (w/r/t Palin, at least) than we've been seeing recently.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:05 PM
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He wouldn't explicitly admit bad judgment, of course, but in the wake of the press she's getting, there's no spin in the world that could cover that up.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:16 PM
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Many people would fall for the spin, sadly, just as they've fallen for the spin that McCain picked Palin for anything other than the most cynical reasons, that Bush is a good old Texas boy, that the media is liberal, that Fox is fair and balanced, that phrases like "clean coal" and "death tax" mean something.

Maybe -- likely -- not enough who ever might be Obama voters to change the outcome of the election, but enough to depress the living hell out of me.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:36 PM
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Oh, SK, honey, buck up! You don't have to wait for that. You can be depressed right now.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:40 PM
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17:Hey, the Presidential Election isn't the only one happening in November.

I think Obama/Biden vs Palin/Lieberman would create the maximum amount of coattails. Whereas there would still be some moderates and center-right independents whatevers that would go to the booth to vote for McCain/Huckabee or McCain/Lieberman and while they are there, vote for the rest of the local R ticket.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:47 PM
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A friend who is in on all the conspiracy theories says there's one going around that Cheney/Rove bullied Mc into picking Palin so if he dies in office (likely), Palin can choose Cheney as VP (no term limits) and let him puppet her. If he doesn't have his arm up to the elbow in the ass of the most powerful person in the world, Dick gets lonely.

Didn't your paranoid hippie friend tell you? (4) is right and his remains are what they're using to poison the rice.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 5:49 PM
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Remember when Ralph Wiggum turned out to be a great George Washington?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 6:26 PM
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29: The well is bottomless.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 6:48 PM
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Agreed with Kraab, by the way, that Palin's dropping out would be for the worse.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 6:53 PM
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I keep wanting to feel bad for her, but then I remember she chose to do this.

I actually am starting to feel bad for her (even as I cackle while watching the Couric interview clips). I mean, yes, obviously one knows that running for VP is going to involve a lot of scrutiny, and the sane thing is to say "hell no," but who among us wouldn't agree to a really flattering offer for a super-plum job if it fell in our laps?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 6:58 PM
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No.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:00 PM
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Ben, you're always the exception that proves the rule. You know this.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:06 PM
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Yes, no. The fact that she accepted it reflects very badly on her. It's not just that she's unqualified for the office (or even for running for it); she's not moored to reality. It's not just embarrassing, it's disgusting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:08 PM
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And you're not really serious, are you, B.? You wouldn't actually accept a nomination to run as Vice Presidential candidate, would you?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:09 PM
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Look, I agree that she was insane and ridiculously overconfident to take the job, and that the "no, I didn't hesitate" thing just shows what a dummy she is. But I find it hard to believe that none of the here assembled are susceptible to flattery or a tendency to overvalue our own importance.

But, okay, fine: if someone offered *me* the VP slot, I'd take it. And then I'd make an ass of myself on national tv and have a nervous breakdown.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:10 PM
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39: Okay, no, I wouldn't. But I'm also not a politician and the governor of a state, however remote and sparseley populated. I'm sure there are plenty of things for which I'm ridiculously underqualified that I would happily jump at if given the chance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:13 PM
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41: So the idea is that Palin took a reasonable, to her mind, stab at something she kinda sorta had some experience in.

Again: judgment unmoored from reality.

I take your point, of course, but I don't know: I gave up faking things a while ago. And the stakes are just a wee bit high in Palin's case.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:21 PM
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fame and her name mentioned like in the general flow of history so to speak is worth a shot maybe for her irregardless of whether she wins or loses


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:26 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:32 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:39 PM
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30: Even for someone accepting your political philosophy wholesale, Bob, this would be unwarranted pessimism. Surely the number of weirdo centrists a ticket with Huckabee or Lieberman (??) might draw would pale alongside the number of people who would realize McCain to be a schmendrick for ever picking Palin.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:47 PM
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it's pity you are not 33 in the other thread, ToS
seriously you could use some therapy maybe, if you feel always lonely and rejected and can't restrain yourself from being that, an abusive troll
there are 3 lines poems in my language on suffering for example:
-anger makes body suffer
-a mountain makes a horse suffer
-a plastic bag makes nature suffer (this is a new addition, the classic version sounds differently of course)
well, good night all and you, ToS


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:52 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 7:57 PM
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I'd totally accept the nomination. I think I'd be a great Vice President.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 8:15 PM
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If B were elected Vuce President and then became President, Jesus wouldn't help her and she'd screw something up. Palin has good reason for her confidence.

Also, it would be like that Notre Dame football movie "Rudy", except in Palin's version Rudy would make the game-saving play.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 8:47 PM
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46:My initial premise was that the most desirable ticket for Democrats was some circumstance that put Palin at the top or in line for the Presidency.

It has been 35+ years since anyone has had experience with a scary succession (well excluding the present) or had reasonable a concern that a President wouldn't serve out his term, so to the non-political, Palin as mourner-in-chief or goodwill ambassador doesn't seem all that scary. But the closer she gets to the hotseat, the more she will cause people to vote against her ticket. Therefore I think I might (subtly) emphasize McCain's age more that Palin's unsuitability, if I were spinning.

I am not so sure as VP she won't bring moderates (PUMAs?) to the booth where they can do damage to Obama's coattails.

PS:Nobody knows my politics, even me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 8:51 PM
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Hell, I'd accept the Presidency if offered. I don't think I could be as bad as Bush, even if I just appointed a Cabinet and went right back home.

And I'm really not relying on that very low bar.

Paulson? DeLong. I just saved the country 3 trillion dollars.

Rumsfeld? I can do better than that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 8:56 PM
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How could I turn down a position in the executive branch when I have so many opinions about what the executive should do?

Well, hopefully the better angels of my nature would keep me from taking such a job.

I asked Molly a while ago if we should build a log cabin and raise our kids in it, so that when one of them runs for president they could talk about their humble log cabin beginnings. Molly said that if one of her children were president she could never live down the shame.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 8:58 PM
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40: and that the "no, I didn't hesitate" thing just shows what a dummy she is.

And she has told contradictory stories even about that. In one interview she related how she asked her kids and they said "go for it Mom", while in other versions the kids were not in on the reason for the trip and were surprised. She lies abouteverything, just like Bush. I no longer believe that she is the mother of *any* of her children, simply because she says she is.**

**No Ohio or Pennsylvania working-class Catholics were harmed or mocked in the production of this comment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:01 PM
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PS:Nobody knows my politics, even me.

Oh, bob, you are not so inscrutable. You live in Texas. You have a couple dogs and work out a lot. There have been a couple references to a lady in your life, which makes me glad. Emerson only has his sister and his bitterness.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:02 PM
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My politics?

I am in favor of

a) a very weak President
b) a very strong Congress
c) an independent professional bureaucracy, supervised, regulated, and oversighted (? Oversought?) by congress, including the Dept of Defense
d) a national lottery with mandatory participation by all, for the top job


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:05 PM
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Lottery as a method of choosing leaders is under appreciated. Is there anyone who actually used it other than the Athenians in the fifth century BCE?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:08 PM
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Overseen!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:08 PM
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Ah, I had forgotten all about this whole deal. McCain camp prays for Palin wedding

The marriage of the vice-presidential candidate's pregnant teenage daughter could lift a flagging campaign
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one -- the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain's campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. "It would be fantastic," said a McCain insider. "You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week."

The McCain campaign are the fuckingest fuckers in a world of fucking fuckers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:10 PM
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57:Do the Byzantines or Tibetans count?

I would, I think, give up the joys of the great leaders for the security and sanity of a nation that could survive & prosper under President Palin or not get completely wrecked by a George W Bush.

Make that job irrelevant.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:12 PM
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60: Of course the count. I didn't know that either used lottery.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:16 PM
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I hear there was a "Lottery in Babylon". Let's implement that one.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:22 PM
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35, 49: Damn straight I'd take the VP job if it were offered. I'd probably half-ass it, too, since it's a job basically made for that. Damn would I love to take advantage of security clearance and a dedicated research staff though.

I'm not sure how I would deal with the scrutiny. Probably terribly. I'm almost certainly not a good enough speech-giver for the position, and I'm only good in interviews if I actually know the area. But hell, I'd still take the nomination. Especially if it was for the Republicans.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:44 PM
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Man, the SNL/Tina Fey/Sarah Palin skit was something close to a verbatim transcript of what she actually said. Ouch.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:45 PM
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Fred Armisen's Obama is terrible. PLUS the debate skit so far is about Obama being a crooked Chicago pol who wants to get earmarks for bribing city council members.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:48 PM
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Now Obama is going to stop the North Korean nuclear program by "playing the race card."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 9:50 PM
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64- We were thinking they should have just played the actual clips from the interview. People who haven't seen them are probably thinking, "Well, it looks bad when they mock it like that, but it probably was ok in real life."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:07 PM
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I would absolutely accept the nomination if it came from the Republicans. I'd be a flaky non-Christian gay guy with a drawl and a hybrid car. That "he's been a woman named Freda" Bloom County cartoon would describe my entire campaign. I would go out of my way to piss off world leaders in subtle ways and wreck the campaign. Were our ticket elected I would, much like Po-Mo, devote four years to digging up the nastiest dirt possible and off-handedly mentioning it in interviews. "Well, President Republican can't really be held accountable for that scandal, it wouldn't be fair. After all, no one held President Historical Republican accountable for that time he ate a baby in a Satanic Thanksgiving ritual."

15% of the population would always approve of the job I was doing; it would just always be a different 15% from the week before.

If the offer came from the Democrats I would have to assume it's post-Cylon-invasion so really it's hard to say what I'd do.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:11 PM
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68: Put whoever nominated you out an airlock, by your own command, duh.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:16 PM
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That works! I like that. My tenure would involve lots and lots of that.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:18 PM
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Either that or a lot of talking to invisible voters in your own head who threaten to rip your head off and then throw you out an airlock. (How this differs from McCain is left as an exercise for the reader.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:22 PM
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Oh lord. McCain is Tighe, isn't he?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:42 PM
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Mmmhmmm. He is. Except that McCain looks like he has something growing out of his face.

Palin looks a bit like Roslin, but she. is. not.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 10:45 PM
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McCain is Tighe, isn't he?

That's hardly fair. Just because they're both crotchety ex-fighter pilots with questionable management skills doesn't mean that they're the same person.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 09-27-08 11:20 PM
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Plus they're both bald. Don't forget.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 12:04 AM
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I'm surprised nobody here's brought up this (that I've seen). Because as Sara says, Right now, the GOP has to be rueing the day they ever brought up Jeremiah Wright.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 12:34 AM
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Mmmhmmm. He is. Except that McCain looks like he has something growing out of his face.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:07 AM
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Man, the SNL/Tina Fey/Sarah Palin skit was something close to a verbatim transcript of what she actually said. Ouch.

Linky?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:13 AM
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Here ya go


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:33 AM
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B:Look, I agree that she was insane and ridiculously overconfident to take the job, and that the "no, I didn't hesitate" thing just shows what a dummy she is. But I find it hard to believe that none of the here assembled are susceptible to flattery or a tendency to overvalue our own importance.
But, okay, fine: if someone offered *me* the VP slot, I'd take it. And then I'd make an ass of myself on national tv and have a nervous breakdown.

Maybe.

Anyways, thank God, you finally brought it up. I was using you for my model for how things would be if it were a Democrat in Palin's position.

That is, what if Joe 'Disco Inferno' Biden had won the nomination, and in a mavericky play, nominated B (you) to be his veep?

First thing: would B accept? I expect... maybe. I think it would be hard to resist. How often in a lifetime does a person get the opportunity to be nominated for VP? (Usually, once. And if you don't get to be VP, you usually don't wind up as President.)

Continuing: Why, exactly, would D's think Joe Biden nominated B? In their heart of hearts, I think they'd think, well, B is a smart woman with political instincts I like, and so on, but you know. Hillary. So, I think everyone would be going (on the inside), 'Biden saw a hot redhead with a nice ass and lost his mind.'

Further: then the R's would go the attack. B is an inexperienced latte-sipping professor, etc. etc. And her kid, agh! And then the DC press would go out of their minds about how much they hated it, while many of the blue staters would be happy to have 'someone like them' in the White House. OTOH, there might be a PUMA tidal wave, because the young (comparatively) hot thing got the job over the experienced older woman. On the third hand, none of that would neccessarily make them embrace McCain.

My expectation would be that D's would be eventually enthralled with the choice (especially since Biden is centrist) and everyone else would be dubious about the choice, even if they liked B herownself. Then, of course, the DC press, submerged in that very restrictive social enviroment, where everything is permitted or even encouraged as long as it is kept under wraps and denounced vociferously in public, would see B as an endless cornucopia of scandal, whether or not blue types thought that stuff was actually scandalous.


So we can go back to Palin and say: ok, well, I can understand why she would take the offer of the VP job. Likewise, I can see why people going after her kids is enraging to the base. Moreover, I can see why she would appeal to the base, but not to anyone outside of it, because in the reverse situation, R's hate people like B, and the independents would be primarily concerned with having a good VP. (I would think, BTW, that B would be a perfectly fine VP, better than average even, given the current crew of zipperheads that populate Washington. I would totally vote for her, even if I didn't know her - hey, I was enthusiastic about the opportunity of voting for Pat Schroeder back in '88, but she didn't run, so I voted for Jackson.)

Going on Palin's record, it looks to me like someone who doesn't have a lot of executive experience, outside of being a mother of five, which is no small thing, but not the same thing as the government world. So she can't resist the neophyte temptation to take charge of everything, and micromanage every detail, which in turn results in mismanaging/ignoring important situations and concentrating on trivialities. (If someone has any talent for management, they usually get over this. If they don't, they don't.)

So: I can't say I don't like Palin, because I don't know her. (Would I hate B, if she were in a similar position?) Likewise, I can't work up any enthusiasm for anything but ignoring her, since she represents a gimmick. The unfortunate aspect, of course, is that McCain picked not just because of her looks, but also just to get on the nerves of D women, and it has worked for too long.

Likewise, given that she seems like someone tuned mainly to Alaska, and who aimed for/desires a career in show business, so I still think the VP thing winds up being a stepping stone to a reality TV show, which is viewed as a more pretigious position in this strange country of ours. Of course, the McCain campaign has repackaged her as Suzy Creamcheese of the Five Immaculate Conceptions, which just emphasizes how ridiculous this is.

In comparison, I can hate McCain just fine because he has demonstrated over and over that he is a detestable, inept son of a bitch. (I'm not referring to his policies, except maybe eternal war for eternal peace - the man is just a bad apple.) Screwing up Palin's career (putting aside her party affliation) just makes him look like even more of a raging asshole. Of course, Palin (not B) may yet turn out to be a truly horrible person; mostly she just looks kinda average, for Alaska, to me.

I don't see why they'd remove her; she may be a disaster for them politically, but McCain is not a quitter. By that, I mean he's prepared to self-destruct rather than lose face... unless someone sells him on the idea that it's the mavericky thing to do.

max
['That might really be better for Palin, so there's that. Plus, it would be funny.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:57 AM
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I am ridiculously unqualified to be Vice President (not to mention, legally barred from doing so) but if someone went mad and offered me the job, damn right I'd be all "Sure!"

And yeah: I'd then probably flub all the interviews, especially after it was made clear to me that I was required to say nothing but partisan talking points, but, hey.

The scary thing is I think there's actually a fair chance Palin will be Vice President in January (cue lectures about Republican vote-rigging and covert racism skewing polls) and that if McCain drops dead in office and Sarah Palin is President, her likeliest choice for Vice President is Todd Palin.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:56 AM
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And SNL's take on the debate. Only so-so, given the potential material there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 5:12 AM
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John Cole is probably correct here.

That is just a sample of what is going to come. Look for the appearance of the following words in days to come: cranky, grumpy, crotchety, angry, mean, rude, sneering, snarling, contemptuous, off-putting, snide, boorish, and worst of all, not Presidential. SNL will probably drive the point home in a skit that will become the dominant narrative tonight, and McCain will become boxed in regarding his behavior in the second debate, much as Gore was unable to be as aggressive as he wanted in the second debate (I remember the running joke was that Gore had been medicated for the second debate). And if McCain does not tone down the contempt, it will simply feed the narrative. Or, if we are really lucky, as someone suggested in another thread, McCain will overcompensate and spend the entire time comically and creepily attempting to make eye contact with Obama (think Al Gore walking across the stage to stand next to Bush, and Bush looking at him as if to think "WTF are you doing?").

This should be terrifying for the McCain campaign for two reasons. First, the base will not understand it. To them, a sneering, contemptuous jerk is a feature, not a bug. When they try to tone down McCain, it will turn off the diehards. Look at the reaction of the base to Palin's RNC speech- they LOVED that she was, for all intents and purposes, nothing but an asshole the entire speech. They loved the "zingers" that were written for her. The rest of the country recoiled in horror, and Obama raised ten million the next 48 hours.

Second, they have spent the last few months angrily lashing out at the media, and these were the folks who used to love McCain. The campaign no longer allows McCain to talk to the media, and the Straight Talk Express is the "No Talk" Express these days. So for the bobbleheads that will be pushing the new narrative of the mean old McCain, the contrast is real. It wasn't just the snarling you and I saw on tv. It was the contrast from the nice, friendly, have some BBQ here are your donuts McCain to the new one. They used to know him as their friend, now he is a jerk- the change to them is more dramatic than it is to us, and as such, the mean McCain narrative will be easier for them to adopt and pass along.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 5:29 AM
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"It would be fantastic," said a McCain insider. "You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week."

[Camera pans across faces of assembled VIPs in church. Sarah Palin looking worried. Cut to Bristol at altar, looking tense. Back to Sarah, tapping.]

Preacher: Do you take this man...

Bristol: (Feral howl) NOOOO! I DON'T WANT THIS! I CAN'T BEAR THIS! GET AWAY FROM ME!

Sarah: Honey, think of the baby...

Bristol: I AM THINKING OF THE MOTHERFUCKING BABY, YOU DUMB BITCH! WHY DON'T YOU...

[Todd puts arm round her to calm her. Bristol breaks away, runs for the door, howling. Security goon intercepts her, accidentally knocking her down.]

Sarah: YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE SON OF A BITCH! IF YOU'VE HURT HER I'M GOING TO SUE YOUR SORRY ASS TO FUCKING RUSSIA!!!!

[Fight breaks out between Palins and Johnstones. Shot of Preacher, bleeding from the mouth. CNN anchor takes a stray bullet. Shot of McCain, running like a deer...]


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 6:05 AM
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My understanding is that it's the father and not the mother who has cold feet. The TV crew should pan the room looking for shotguns. It will also be a tell if the bridegroom is constantly attended by two or three husky guys from the bride's party.

Also, OFE: hate speech!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 6:34 AM
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Washington Post:

But if a final deal incorporates House Republican principles while leaning most heavily on the accord between the administration, House Democrats and Senate Republicans, all sides will be able to claim some credit -- even if the legislation is not popular with voters.

Who are the House Republicans?

But Pence had a truly peculiar idea. His idea was that the government ought to reassure people about the risks of losses under a privatization plan by having the government guarantee a minimum annuity level pegged to what's promised under current law. This plan would, according to Pence, save money relative to current law because most people's stock/bond portfolio would outperform the level needed to provide such an annuity, so the government would only need to kick in for a minority of people. I said I thought this would create a moral hazard problem for bad investors. He had no idea what I was talking about. Seemed unfamiliar with the term. Then I tried to explain it to him, I said that if the government guaranteed to bail you out in case of losses, then investors would make riskier investments and the number of people who need bailing out would rise. He just flat-out denied this, said the presence or absence of a guaranteed bailout would have no impact on investor behavior. He seemed unaware that some portfolios are riskier than others, or that higher average rates of return are associated with greater risk taking. He didn't know anything at all, in short, about investing, financial markets, or, seemingly, the basic terms of public policy. And yet there he was speaking on the topic at Heritage. He's a total fraud.

Understanding economics and finance less well than I do is a rare feat, especially for someone who's playing a major role in setting policy in the area. There should be some kind of award for this.

If the ultimate plan "includes some elements of the House Republican plan", it will just be more evidence that stubborn ignorance works in some game-theoretic situations. While you have to left-handedly thank the House Republicans for derailing the Paulson plan, their proposed tax breaks and deregulation plan is far worse.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 6:56 AM
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The idea that a Presidential campaign would stage a wedding as a campaign stunt is the fucking funniest thing I've ever heard.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 7:09 AM
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82: the debate skit was awful, in that it didn't, you know, riff off of anything that actually happened in the debate. Obama was a crooked Chicago pol and McCain was a wacky guy proposing pie-eating contests. None of the adjectives John Cole mentions applied.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 7:16 AM
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I rather doubt I'd take the VP slot if it were offered me; my honey and I have promised each other never to make the other do the political spouse (smile, nod, stare adoringly) thing. However! I am pretty damn confident that I would do a better job than Palin has been doing so far. I am much, much better at cramming information and bullshitting than she is. But no, I do not reallly regard those as useful skills.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 8:40 AM
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My understanding of the Republican proposals is that they literally do nothing. They involve offering an insurance policy that no one will buy, and a capital gains tax cut that no one will be able to take advantage of because the value of everybody's capital is going down anyway.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 8:45 AM
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So basically, someone talked sense into them and gave them a figleaf?

The House Republicans seem like perfect representatives of the idiots who elected them. It's actually a pretty good example of the lottery democracy McManus claims to want -- direct democracy by random sample.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 8:58 AM
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JM, if your honey stands in the way of your VP dream, you must dump him. You'd be the cutest darn VP!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 8:59 AM
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90, 91: Krugman has joined DeLong and Newberry in supporting nationalization on the Swedish model. He points out, however, that his solution is not possible because, you know, socialism. With socialism very very bad things can happen. Thank God we have a stable free market system and don't have to worry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:04 AM
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Cuter even than Quayle! That would be my slogan.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:07 AM
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There's no way I'd take a VP nod. The idea of every person I've ever fooled around with or done drugs with or sat in class next to or taught or been taught by making their way to reporters to opine about me is fairly sick making.* I'm arrogant enough to be fairly sure that I'd be doing way better in interviews right now than Palin is, but certainly not narcissistic enough to want the rock turned over on my little bug life.
*I actually know a couple of prominent politicians who have made themselves over fairly thoroughly. I have felt no desire whatever to go to papers and announce, say, "That guy now pretending to be a young earth creationist and evangelical? He never spent any time in a church that I'm aware of, plus he's really a libertarian who thinks this new schtick will make him rich/famous."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:07 AM
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funny sketch and again poor Palin, everytime i type her name i do a typo plain
She is widely considered to look like Palin, and "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels persuaded her to ride the show's hot hand. Her first appearance as the Alaskan governor two weeks ago was a huge hit, helping boost the premiere's ratings and garnering attention online.
so again all is about how to profit
i was very interested in history of Norway for example, how a small arctic country with small population turned out to be one of the richest, and from what i read it was b/c the country was a very successful creditor during the world wars, then all my interest like just vanished but it could be i mix it with Swiss i didn't read further
to become rich on the war money interests, profiting from human suffering, no thanks
better to donate your last horse to the army fighting nazis perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:12 AM
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Oudemia, you're being a bit presumptuous. The job is JM's to turn down. I'm sure you're cute too, but JM has that certain something. It was those new outfits she showed us.

Sen. Coleman of MN is famously gay, with a fake marriage to a lady who lives mostly in Hollywood and a stoner past, with photo and everything. And he's running a pure negative personal campaign against Al Franken. He may get away with it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:14 AM
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Oh Christ, I couldn't even pass a security clearance, let alone withstand a major political vetting. I could sure be cute, though!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:15 AM
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The more I think about it, the more dumping Palin seems like a valid "Hail Mary" move -- but he'd have to do it quickly.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:17 AM
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Oudemia, I didn't mean to be harsh. I'm sure that you're cute enough to be Secretary of State, for example, but the problem is, would you want that job? Because in the American system the VP controls foreign policy, so JM would undercut and override everything you tried to do.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:22 AM
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I don't feel sorry for Palin. Sure she's overmatched, but she's mean.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:23 AM
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Read, Norway has oil.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:29 AM
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None of the adjectives John Cole mentions applied.

Yeah, like I said, the skit was only so-so. But I think he's dead on about it really constraining McCain for the next two.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:33 AM
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Beneath her cute exterior JM is utterly ruthless, as we all know, like that Fatal Attraction lady. Just right for VP.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:36 AM
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SNL, Still Not Laughworthy.

I'm going to be pissed if I don't get to see a Biden–Palin debate; I've really been looking forward to that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:39 AM
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Iraq has oil too, CC, thank gods we don't have it
well, i shouldn't not of course lose interest in something just b/c of some strange detail or word or sentence as it often happens with books


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:43 AM
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-not


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:44 AM
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a capital gains tax cut that no one will be able to take advantage of because the value of everybody's capital is going down anyway

Even better, that means that the value of taking capital losses is reduced. It actually manages to blunt incentives to swap capital away from recent losers, and it will increase investors' tax burdens in the next few years (unless they somehow had all their money in cash before September)! They manage to fail even at short-term stimulus through tax reduction!

On a related note, the first time I saw that some legislation was coming out of the "Republican Study Group", I read it as "Republican Studly Group". I bet there's actually a drinking club of painfully white Republican congressmen that calls itself that.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:46 AM
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I haven't seen the SNL debate skit, but did you-all see the Palin-Couric skit from last night? Tina Fey continues awesome. It's at Political Animal.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:53 AM
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109: Also linked in comment 79.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:58 AM
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What's the difference between JM and Cheney? - Lipstick


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 9:59 AM
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105: live humiliation on reality TV isn't my thing.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:02 AM
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108: Good point.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:08 AM
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Last night I went to hear a local country reunion band at an semi-official charity function at the local HS. (70 year-old singer, good voice, knew Buddy Holly when he was a nobody and not yet dead.)

They did "Help me make it through the night" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling", both clearly advocating fornication and/or adultery. I looked around and it was all cool.

So Wobegon hasn't regressed into the Nineteenth Century yet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:23 AM
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111.---Hey, now. Unlike Cheney, I have hair.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:25 AM
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And a heart.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:26 AM
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And a my original heart.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:28 AM
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Well, I grant you the hair JM, but on the picture I've seen of you (the Pope Joan one you posted ages ago), you surely looked pasty.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:33 AM
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only picture


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:33 AM
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Fine. I'll go practice my snarl now.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:43 AM
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This is how you get a >50 comment post, ben


Posted by: dave | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:50 AM
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See, Cheney 1.0 wasn't cute. The new, cute Cheney 2.0 will be undefeatable. We'll be invading France within a couple of years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:55 AM
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Because JM would love to live in France again. That's why.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 11:02 AM
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Cheney 2.0 doesn't need reasons, John.

The Great Depression 2.0 is still on schedule. Now foreign banks are starting to go bankrupt.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:01 PM
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The Great Depression 2.0 is still on schedule. Now foreign banks are starting to go bankrupt.

Perhap, then, we should get started on the establishment of the First National Bank of Unfogged, whose operation will be guided by the principles of Obama's Muslim third way economics, a weekly crucifixion on a cross of gold, the iron pyrite standard, and the requirement that all depositors read the archives.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:30 PM
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124:Yeah

Calculated Risk sometimes provides numerical information about the commercial paper markets, but on the various blog comment threads people are providing anecdotal evidence. Tragic & scarey.

I don't know how long it would take for a commercial paper freeze to show up in the headline numbers or MSM reporting.

And I don't see the mechanism that the bailout will use to free up the commercial paper.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:34 PM
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Searching for Bailout Votes ...Stoller at OpenLeft

Republicans, under pressure from the democrats to deliver 70-100 votes from their side, were scouring the ranks and focusing on the two dozen Republicans who were retiring this year.
...100 Repub votes isn't enough. Walk away. And I know this contradicts 126, and I will be accused of wanting a depression.

And read the comments. There had to be a better way than to ally with Bush & Goldman Sachs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:47 PM
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Pelosi should hold back the Democratic votes until she gets the Republican votes, and she should be putting out press releases explaining what the Republicans are doing and blaming them for everything that happens. What a cheap bunch of moron bullies they are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 1:55 PM
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Via CR, the draft bill. (pdf) 106 pp.

||
Fucking Vikings.
|>


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 2:08 PM
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So, Bush and the congressional Democrats will pass the bill that Republicans want, with virtually none of the elements the Democrats claim to have been trying to insist on suggesting on including, and Republicans get credit for opposing it? It seemed like they were going to find a way to avoid that.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 2:18 PM
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130:Oh there are the Democratic revisions in the bill, just phrased in a vague and conditional manner. Some equity from some banks maybe, if conditions blah. Try real hard to mod mortgages. Limit exec compensation for future really bad stuff for banks.

The fun one was the second stage. Paulson automatically gets the second half unless Congress votes to disapprove it and the President signs.

That'll work as well, in the same way, as the Iraq funding bills.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 2:35 PM
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129: The Twins are always a better bet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 2:36 PM
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Do the Democrats need 70 Republican votes to pass the bill? Does that mean they expect 70 Democrats to vote no?

It's odd how the left wing of the Democratic party never gets any news coverage. The leadership and the Blue Dogs suck up all of the media attention between them.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 3:04 PM
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133:Nobody knows, Walt. Democrats want some bi-partisan cover.

Kucinich, who I think is going to vote no, says if Pelosi had the votes it would be on the floor.

I have read a strong case this must pass before quarterlies Oct 1. It won't.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 3:09 PM
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OK, my grand unified theory is that Paulson's original offer was just a feint and that what the Democrats have agree to is what he really wanted. And that the Republicans actually are willing to accept the bill on the table as long as they can blame the Democrats for it. And that the Republicans, to the extent that they actually are aware that there might be serious negative consequences, are still willing to play chicken for political purposes, because they're confident that the Democrats will flinch, and also that they'll win the media spin game.

In other words, same as it ever was.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 3:42 PM
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I say just keep letting things fail and keep letting either JP Morgan or Bank of America buy them up.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 3:48 PM
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Maybe we should just let the Bavarian Illuminati take everything. They'll get it in the end anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 3:51 PM
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Actually, my goal in the previous comment was for both firms to fail, yet be too big to bail out after having bought up so many other shitty companies. That would guarantee the closure of the excessive number of bank branches with which they have blighted our communities.

One Chase location in my neighborhood has some kind of device projecting the Chase logo onto the sidewalk -- beyond tacky. At least their color scheme isn't as offensively ugly as BoA's, though.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:00 PM
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That would guarantee the closure of the excessive number of bank branches with which they have blighted our communities.

My dad has been making this argument at me every opportunity for the past 2 weeks.


Posted by: RobDP | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:10 PM
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read, where did you read the information about Norway being a creditor during the World Wars? Because I've never heard that before, and given that Norway was under German occupation from 1940 on I don't really see how it's possible.

Sweden, on the other hand, was neutral all the way through. Was it them you were looking up?


Posted by: King Rat | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:11 PM
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King Rat, are you suggesting that read is a racist to whom all Scandinavian countries look alike?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:22 PM
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Since when is Sweden a Scandinavian country?

Oh, wait. That's Switzerland.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:25 PM
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The frogs were happier under King Apple than they were under King Rat.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:25 PM
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And a my original some human's heart.

Also:

Perhap, then, we should get started on the establishment of the First National Bank of Unfogged, whose operation will be guided by the principles of Obama's Muslim third way economics, a weekly crucifixion on a cross of gold, the iron pyrite standard, and the requirement that all depositors read the archives.

"I swear, boss, I've shown my cock to every joker in this town and deposits are still flat."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:33 PM
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Perhap, then, we should get started on the establishment of the First National Bank of Unfogged, whose operation will be guided by....the iron pyrite standard....

I saw Barney Frank on TV taking questions off the phone, and he had to answer a question from someone who supposed that our "imaginary fiat money" be solidly based on something real: not gold, but energy. Frank fielded it nicely, saying that he didn't see how we could switch our currency to a kilowatt standard.

This connects to the energy / sexual energy / qi thread, of course; if the dollar could be pegged to sexual energy, Brazil for example would be rescued from its poverty.

I love Barney Frank, except to the extent that he's a tool of finance, but you have to admit that it would be hard to find a more stereotypical Eastern liberal. The lisp is the killer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 4:57 PM
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I say just keep letting things fail and keep letting either JP Morgan or Bank of America buy them up.

And then, once it's down to just the two, we bust them up under anti-trust laws. Everybody gets a bank!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 5:07 PM
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he had to answer a question from someone who supposed that our "imaginary fiat money" be solidly based on something real: not gold, but energy. Frank fielded it nicely, saying that he didn't see how we could switch our currency to a kilowatt standard.

I actually think that in a future where we have the technology to more efficiently store and transfer energy for long periods of time it would be a great idea. Unfortunately, we don't. Energy isn't very liquid. But it would be much more solid than any fiat currency, and even more solid that gold or silver, or even pyrite, whose value is still pretty arbitrary. Energy has intrinsic worth, and is, perhaps, the only thing that does (if you disregard human psychology--how would we barter with an alien species? Energy trades!).


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 5:20 PM
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140 i don't remember i think some article in Russian maybe even sometimes around the end of the cold war
it could be i've mistaken Norway with the Swiss or Sweden's transactions with the nazi Germany
well, all those neutral countries seemed had been involved in some or other trade with the both fighting sides
i remember Portugal was mentioned also
if i've mistaken my apologies beforehand


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 5:51 PM
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i just got near some robbery, but then my bus came
i was standing there at the bus stop talking on the phone mostly leaving messages, then there came a young tall black guy with a swollen face and said call the police i just got robbed
i didn't notice any struggle over there before this, got so surprised, asked him: call 911? he said yes, but then my bus came
i told him i'll call, he just waived his hand and walked away, i got on the bus and called 911 and told them what happened and where
i doubt he was going to assault me or something, but it was kinda strange that i didn't see or hear any that fighting activity or maybe just didn't notice what was going around
i wonder should i have let my bus go and stay with him until the police arrived, but maybe i shouldn't?
i didn't have time to get afraid even
strange feeling as if i again failed to do something right


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 7:44 PM
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Re: the rumour circulating about an early Bristol-Levi wedding. Before taking this report too seriously, remember the source (Rupert Murdoch's Times), and remember this prudential rule: never believe any purported scoop from a British daily newspaper (except the FT) until it has been independently reported by a non-British publication. With all due repect to nworB werdnA, British dailies are full of thinly sourced nonsense.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 7:52 PM
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146: I've pretty seriously thought that's what's going to happen for a while. There's a general anti-trust rule in the US that no retail bank can continue to acquire others after it already holds 10% of the national deposit base. BofA, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank were all at that limit before the current crisis, and they seem to have given up on these rules for the meantime. Really, they kind of have to wait several years for everything to calm down, then force breakups into regional banks. None of the banks are getting too gigantic in the US market (I doubt any of them hit 25% of the deposit base by the end), but they'll be big enough to cause a lot of worry.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 10:11 PM
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Well, I've read about the plan, and John, you were right. The Democrats got rolled. I really hate you right about now.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 11:01 PM
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Here's the relevant link.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 11:02 PM
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153:Not for me. I can't even get it in my RSS pane. Yves, let me back, I'll be nice.

Ending mark-to-market rules and reserve requirements? How did that get in there?

I am, as usual, most disappointed in the moderate blogosphere, who also have gotten intimidated and rolled, almost 6 years to the day after AUMF.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 11:38 PM
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154.3: I believe that constitutes hitting someone you can reach because you can't reach the ones you really want to hit.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-08 11:58 PM
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135:Not entirely.

No matter what excuses they give themselves, in the end it is Democrats and liberals who are passing this bill.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 6:48 AM
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The Democratic leadership only have around 125 votes lines up. They need 100 Republican votes to pass it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 7:32 AM
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Citigroup is buying Wachovia.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 7:50 AM
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157:"Great Depression II" looming on the horizon, and Democrats, with all effort & pressure, can just barely muster half their caucus?

C'mon, this is a horrible bill. If the markets drop 50%, we can come back in a week. If they don't, we can survive 4 months.

It took 2-3 years for GD I to hit bottom under at best mediocre management.

Remember the Pelosi-Paulson scene, with Hank on his knees, admitting Repubs were jerks? DeLong about demanded that Hank endorse Obama. Ain't gonna happen. I think part of the problem is that Pelosi & Krugman don't want to live in a world where Powell & Paulson are their enemies, not as bad as Bush & Cheney, but not good enough to work with until they committ to our side.

There is just so much trust & good will toward Bernanke/Paulson involved in accepting this bill.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 7:58 AM
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As far as I know, this bill is probably better than no bill. How urgent it is to pass the bill soon I don't know; I'm leary.

I still wrote my Congressman, a Blue Dog, asking him to vote "no". Waste of time, really; if he votes no, it will be a Republican "no".

I harp on this, but inability to bluff or play hardball is what gives the Democrats their bad name and loses Presidential elections. The Republicans had a weak hand and played it like a strong one. It's not that the Democrats had a powerful hand, but the Republicans were able to presume on Democratic weakness.

Probably the slant of media coverage intimidate the Democrats. And it goes without saying that a lot of Democrats are bought and paid for, but the ones who aren't didn't fight very hard.

Act utilitarians always lose this kind of game.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:05 AM
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I suggested at DeLong that the Democrats play hardball with Paulson and Benanke, not the House Republicans (slightly edited):

I think a lot about how the Democrats could take the initiative back from the Republicans, both in general and now in this case. Right now the Republicans are using the very effective "crazy and stupid" bluff which we recognize from game theory:
"Do you REALLY doubt that we're willing to throw the world into chaos in order to score a few cheap political points?" they ask. "HAHAHAHAHA! Try us!"
Bernanke and Paulson know that the Democrats are not that crazy and stupid. So they work the Democrats. So why can't the Democrats work Bernanke and Paulson, on the assumption that they're less crazy than the House Republicans? Suppose the Democrats say, "We want to avert chaos, just like you do, and we're willing to work with you. But here's what you're going to have to do first: [TBA....]"
At that point the Democrats don't have to be or seem more crazy than the House Republicans. They just have to be or seem more crazy than Bernanke and Paulson. But are they, really? Can they fake it? And how crazy are Bernanke and Paulson? -- they're Republicans, after all.
To be continued.....

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:12 AM
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Waste of time, really; if he votes no, it will be a Republican "no". I harp on this, but inability to bluff or play hardball is what gives the Democrats their bad name and loses Presidential elections.

Democrats lack a spine, but for this debate, they might be able to borrow one from the Far Right. The rightwing nuts aren't going to get what they want because what they want is crazy, but if they manage to obstruct things enough, it could force Bush/Pelosi/Reid to cut a deal with sensible Democrats. Maybe.

I'm with bob in 159 on this. It may be that this deal is better than nothing, but it's a close enough call that I think the Dems ought to take the risk of sinking this deal.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:12 AM
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Oh there are the Democratic revisions in the bill, just phrased in a vague and conditional manner. Some equity from some banks maybe, if conditions blah.

I'm not defending the bill, but the current equity provisions don't look that weak to me -- equity participation (or debt from non-public companies) if the government purchases more than $100 million worth of assets, period.

The executive compensation provisions are vague and not too strong, though.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:19 AM
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Barney Frank just lost a ton of credibility with me. He's got a long string of good points, but this overrides most of them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:21 AM
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There is just so much trust & good will toward Bernanke/Paulson involved in accepting this bill.

Yep.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:47 AM
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This bill is better than no bill, but not as good as the bill the Democrats could have passed if they weren't so bad at politics.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:50 AM
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Hilzoy:

It is also, in my judgment, not a time for those of us who are not professional economists to imagine that we can sort things out without expert advice. I have read some bloggers who have no background in economics or finance, who are nonetheless sure that there is/is not a crisis, or that the bill under discussion obviously is/is not necessary. We're lucky enough to live at a time when experts provide good analysis very quickly. We should use it.

The problem is that all the economists seem to be treading water. DeLong and several others agree that the Swedish temporary-nationalization plan would be best, but they're pretty sure that politically it won't fly, so that's that. This is hardly the first time that the actual best plan has been politically dead from the beginning; medical insurance as another, and the start of the Iraq War was a third.

And politics asides, economists even seem uncertain about the economics of this.

I harp on this, but politics requires gambling when you have incomplete information. It's not really an expert technical field where you come to an accurate understanding and proceed from there. It's looking for moments of uncertainty when you'll have a chance to promote your program.

To put it differently, "this is too important to play politics with" is exactly wrong. When there's a serious problem and significant uncertainty, there might be an opportunity.

The Republican response is worthless and laughable, but at least they saw an opportunity when it arrived. The U of Chicago economists' letter looks wrong-headed to me, but at least they knew it was time to make a move. I don't see that from the Democrats.

As far as I know, I'm the only liberal or Democrat who understands what the Republicans were talking about when the sneered at the "reality-based community". Politicians make reality, they don't describe it. As Marx said.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 8:59 AM
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I don't think you need to be an economist to see, based on the article Mary Cathrine linked to, that this gives Paulson too much power.

What have the candidates said about the bill?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:10 AM
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What have the candidates said about the bill?

Tepid support (but support) from both.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:12 AM
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This is a real improvement over the original Paulson bill. But it stays within the same large-scale, top-down Wall Street bailout model. Any bill within that framework was going to give a ton of autonomy to the implementing agency.

Even within the large-scale bailout model, there could have been better protections -- the CEO pay stuff is one giant loophole.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:15 AM
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This is a real improvement over the original Paulson bill.

And Deng was a real improvement over Mao.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:23 AM
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Also, this is a godsend for the grass-roots Republicans, the House Republicans are the only group in DC who feel totally free to just oppose this thing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:23 AM
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And Deng was a real improvement over Mao.

Deng was a massive, world-historical improvement over Mao, while this bill is at most a moderate improvement over the Paulson bill.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:26 AM
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Yeah... This bill is pretty disappointing. I find it funny how much the NYT article emphasizes the ability to buy securities other than mortgage debt, as if it were really exceptional. To me, it seems vital to a reasonable rescue effort, since recapitalization will almost certainly be necessary.

They really should've stuck it to the Treasury on the pricing mechanism. In my pony-world, they would have gotten $100 million of Paulson's money locked up in a government trust as collateral, and any losses taken on any asset bought without a transparent reverse-auction to price it would be pulled out of the collateral at a 1000-to-1 ratio (i.e., $100 billion in losses on assets bought up by this fund at non-market prices would wipe out $100 million of Paulson's money). When someone's given this much discretion, they've gotta have some serious skin in the game.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:26 AM
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Section 134 is interesting -- five years from now, if the plan has lost money (seems likely!), the President will submit a proposal to recoup these losses from the financial industry. We promise, we promise!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:35 AM
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The Republicans are really pressing the story that the socialist institutions Fannie and Freddie destroyed the market and caused the financial crisis. Also, the Republican party fought bravely to regulate Fanne and Freddie for years but were prevented by evil scheming Democrats.

It's so damn frustrating to see things that are flat-out lies but too complex for the press to call them on it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:37 AM
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Back to Palin - one thing I see now and then in amateur theatre is when someone is cast beyond his/her abilities. Usually it happens if they are the best available, and in that case they get support and empathy. But now and then it happens because of patronage, the return of a favor, and in that case all you can do is shake your head and cringe.

The castee has a dream of playing the lead and being a hit, but they are destined to suck if given the lead, and said suckitude happens in public in front of everyone.

Worse yet, the show must go on, so the castee may not flee and must face the music day after day.

With all that said - no way would I accept the VP nod. It is President or nothing. There is another theatre adage - if you are going to make a mistake make it a BIG mistake and by golly if I am destined to go down in flames then at least it will be in the lead. If the risks are great then the rewards must be great too.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:39 AM
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As far as I know, the Republicans opposing the bailout are exactly the same deregulators who, as much as anyone, are responsible for the problem. (What are Gingrich, DeLay, and Gramm saying?) The Republicans will be rewarded for their stubbornness, and the Democrats will be punished for their reasonableness, and Paulson and Bernanke will shut up as soon as they've got the bill through at the Democrats' expense.

I linked yesterday to Yglesias's tning on Pence, in which he revealed that Pence has no idea what the term "moral hazard" means, and when it was explained to him in simple language just denied that it could have any relevance to the bill he was promoting, even though it had very obvious relevance. In short, the guy's a dogmatic idiot running errands for his donors.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:39 AM
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175: Ugh... It doesn't name a mechanism, does it?

Delayed clawback provisions really are terrible if you want to get private capital investing in the banks again, which is one of the main goals of all this. There needs to be an upfront mechanism (whether through purchased warrants/equity or paying super-low prices for the assets) to prevent losses so that uncertainty's cleared up and everyone knows the damage immediately.

I guess they really are as good as we're going to get, though. Let's just hope that the private investors read this bill about as carefully as they read derivatives contracts.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:41 AM
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167: Shorter Hilzoy:

Would you want a department store manager or orthodontist running the Pentagon? I don't think so.



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:42 AM
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Let's hope all the Palin incompetence - Couric interview, Pakistan comment, everything - isn't history's most ambitious attempt to lower pre-debate expectations. Silly-but-how-can-you-be-sure-in-times-like-these, y'know.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:46 AM
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I'm with PMP in 174, which is disappointing, since Dodd's plan struck me as both reasonable and likely to indicate the direction that the rescue plan was going to go. I feel that doing something was important (the credit market really are starting to implode, and that's the sort of thing that turns a normal recession into a '70s style years-long grind), but Paulson's behavior during this episode was shameful and indicates that the Democrats are fools to just trust him to act as a steward of taxpayer money. A better plan, honestly, would have been to just give him $100 billion with no conditions or oversight and let him prop up his friends at BAC and Goldman Sachs. The next Treasury Secretary could come back to discuss a better plan. As it is, this has at least some safeguards on it, but any money that Paulson touches, he's going to find a way to give out for free.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:46 AM
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Would you want a department store manager or orthodontist running the Pentagon? I don't think so.

That's just disgusting, and shows the shallowness of the reporter's thought. This isn't like a single unqualified individual getting full decision-making power, this is the collective force of the very people who pay for an organization getting a veto right.

The more appropriate analogy is "Would you want the shareholders of a corporation to be able to collectively agree to change the leadership or force the reversal of a gigantic and obviously awful business decision?". And there the answer is of course "Hell Yes!" (answer not valid in Delaware Chancery Courts).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:48 AM
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Hilzoy's grandfather Gunnar Myrdal was an early recipient of the Bank of Sweden fake Nobel prize, but argued that the prize should be abolished because of the kind of person who would end up receiving it. A very wise man.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:49 AM
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On a more positive note, I just bought a muskmelon well past its sell-by date, and once I cut out its visible rotten spot it was the best I've ever had. It's a thin line between rotten and ripe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:53 AM
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It's a thin line between rotten and ripe.

I'm sure there is some allegorical meaning hidden here, but I can't quite work it out.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:56 AM
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It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.


Posted by: David St. Hubbins | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 9:59 AM
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That's just disgusting, and shows the shallowness of the reporter's thought.

I recognize that this was an unfair shot by me at hilzoy, whose post was much more nuanced than Murray's despicable journalism. But I'm coming around to the mcmanus/Robespierre view of things: Moderates to the guillotine !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:00 AM
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It is also, in my judgment, not a time for those of us who are not professional economists to imagine that we can sort things out without expert advice.

It's been a long time since I disagreed this vehemently with Hilzoy.

Called the Congressperson this a.m. (D). Her staff said they didn't know how she would vote, but they weren't very receptive to my criticisms. Bah.

Newspaper didn't print my letter, but has (thankfully) printed some others that are equally fierce. Others are awful.

In other news, I got blank checks from one credit-card company, solicitations from another, and an upsell to the fancier kind of Amex when I called to change my address. Crisis? What crisis?*

*Aka, the junk mail is long out of the mailhouses. End of July mailings hitting now, maybe.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:02 AM
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I'm with you Witt. I wasn't sure before, when you and Apo were arguing against the anticipated compromise package. But we didn't get anything close to that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:06 AM
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187: Smell the glove, Dems!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:06 AM
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185: Very insightful. I myself have found plenty of wisdom in agricultural produce.

For example, the phrase "the bitter end" had caused great debate regarding its origins, to which I can only add that the phrase applies greatly to old cucumbers. "The bitter end" is the end where the stem was, and it takes either great appetite or great stubbornness to consume the elderly cucumber to the bitter end.

Much of our greatest wisdom has come from farming and the consumption of food, and it is a shame we ignore it. We also ignore much of nautical wisdom as well, but that is okay since most of it comes from the Limeys, and they no longer rule the world.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:07 AM
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I had no larger point, but a lot of our tastiest foods are fermented or otherwise turned. Aged beef is another, gross example.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:09 AM
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192 is for some strange reason making me laugh. Has anyone read Kitchen Literacy?

(Thanks, rob. With three of us plus my 90-year-old grandfather, we can't be beat!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:09 AM
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193: Sushi was invented as a way to preserve fish; the rice was originally thrown away.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:10 AM
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Pelosi addressing the House right now, trying to put lipstick on this pig.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:16 AM
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Senater Specter's office says he has "serious reservations" but doesn't yet know how he will vote.

Bah. It'll be just like the torture thing. Serious reservations right up until he votes yes.

Come on, Senator, surprise me. Please.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:19 AM
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"Bernanke is one of the world's experts on the Great Depression. I don't know what was so great about the Depression...."


Posted by: Nancy Pelosi | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:20 AM
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I'm at wit's end, so no links, but Angry Bear has posted a good article by Stiglitz on the plan. James Hamilton (Menzie Chinn?) at Econbrowser has an explanation of TED that's very good.

TED doing a moonwalk. Baltic goin' underwater. Glurp. Can't bear to watch. And it will be worse tomorrow.

Walks & weights. CUL8R.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:20 AM
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"I don't like this bill any better than you do"

"We insisted we have a party...party is over...message to Wall Street"


Posted by: Nancy Pelosi | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:29 AM
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Aged beef is another, gross example.

That's got nothing on the classical advise for handling game birds like pheasant. The two variants I've heard --- hang from the neck until it drops off, or hang until the first maggot hits the floor would probably have trouble getting USDA approval, I suspect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:32 AM
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Speaking of game birds, if you skin them, which is still messy but easier than plucking, I strongly recommend "barding" them.

Yeah, I know, Shakespeare and some great joke I can't quite come up with but actually in this case barding refers to (shout out to Apo) wrapping the carcass in bacon before roasting it. Yumm. If you do it right you can safely eat the bacon too.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:44 AM
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wrapping the carcass in bacon before roasting it.

This is pretty common with a lot of game which, lacking a do-nothing life and `finishing' , typically has a much lower fat content than CAFO outputs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:46 AM
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193 just has me thinking about aged ham. Mmmmm....


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:48 AM
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gonna be a nailbiter of a House vote...high drama


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:49 AM
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Not strictly on topic, but:

Have you all looked at 538 today? FL is blue. OH is blue. VA is medium blue. IN is blue.

Holy shit.

I know there's weeks to go, things change, October Surprise, etc., but still. Wow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:53 AM
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Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars:

In the end, I'm hoping for a more liberal version of the Shock Doctrine. If crises are used to force citizens to accept policies we normally wouldn't, what is stopping us from using this crisis to move the country towards a more progressive future? To that end, I'm calling my Representative to urge a "No" vote on the bailout bill. If we're going to act, let's do it right.

Pretty much my position.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:53 AM
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206: Cheered me up too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:54 AM
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206: Doesn't 538 seem consistently more optimistic than other sites? I don't really know what to make of that. It definitely shows a bigger margin than electoral-vote.com or pollster.com. Someone was recommending some other similar sites to me last week, but I forgot the names.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 10:58 AM
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Doesn't 538 seem consistently more optimistic objective than other sites?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:02 AM
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Now, Boehner. This will be interesting.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:06 AM
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I checked what I remembered, and if Obama gets all the Gore or Kerry states (including NH, IA, NM), he needs to switch 6 more votes to win. That doesn't seem hard at all, but at this point in my life I'm incapable of political optimism.

If only Nevada switched, it would be a tie.

538 gives a ~ 8% chance of one candidate or the other winning the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, a .54% chance of a tie, and a 4.54% chance of a recount in a decisive state. These aren't additive, but it seems that there's an almost 10% or so chance of a result that the McCain people will try to discredit. (Though losing the popular vote didn't hurt Bush against Gore. Funny, that.)

Though a 25% chance of an Obama landslide.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:10 AM
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Wow, Boehner is really going out hard in support of this thing. Showing guts, he's not playing politics here. Maybe it won't be such a nailbiter.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:11 AM
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Very strong from Boehner. Can Hoyer turn it around (unintentionally)?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:15 AM
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Going back to my obsession, when Paulson or Bernanke supposedly went down on his knees begging, that was the time for Pelosi to play hardball. All she would have had to have said was "What are you proposing to do for us?" Possibly prefixing it with, "Republican scam...."

To me, that really was a lost chance. She could have said, "If you're relying on us, and if we're going to lay our heads on the chopping block, you have to give us a bill we like. Not the compromise bill aimed at the Republicans voting No.

Probably the "gutless" theory fails here, and should be replaced by the "in the pocket of finance".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:16 AM
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Quoting Agnew: bold move!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:17 AM
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Hoyer climaxes with a stirring invocation of the wisdom of Spiro Agnew.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:17 AM
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Doesn't 538 seem consistently more optimistic than other sites?

I don't go there - or elsewhere - often enough to say, but as of about a month ago (right before the DNC, I think), I spent some time there and felt it was on the pessimistic side. Since their methodology builds on underlying data, I don't think that its stance is predictable or likely to track other sites closely.

Note that their map right now shows Obama winning with ~313 EVs, but the chart showing the gamed-out elections has, as the mode outcome, Obama with 360 EVs. IOW, it's not a linear takeoff on the polls. As someone said recently, whatever happens with this election, we'll have a TON of data to look at WRT prediction models and polling processes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:18 AM
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Is Pelosi in the pocket of finance? Plausible, since SF is a financial center, but I haven't heard anyone make the charge.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:18 AM
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pwned!

Hey Charley, my office is having a pool on the final vote. I'm guessing 220 Y, 145 D, but after seeing the last half hour or so I might have underestimated. Any guesses?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:19 AM
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219: There are two prominent political parties in the pocket of finance, and Pelosi is a leader of one of them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:22 AM
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And there we are: 15 minutes. Any bets?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:22 AM
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220 Y, 145 D

"Yes" and "Down"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:22 AM
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And what the hell, finance really is an important constituency that ought to be very well-represented in Congress - say, about a tenth as well represented as they are.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:23 AM
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240 at least.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:25 AM
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Hoyer's speech kept reminding me of Bill Pullman's "rally the troops" speech in Independence Day. I don't listen to much Congress, though, so maybe that's par for the course.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:27 AM
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221: I'm beginning to think analyzing it in terms of parties alone is not helpful. (I'm guessing Kucinich doesn't get big checks from Goldman Sachs.) It is failure on the part of individuals.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:27 AM
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223: "Yes" and "Democrat". 145 Democratic yes out of 236 Democratic members, 75 Republican yes out of 199 Republican members.

Listening to the volume of the voice vote, I think I underestimated somewhat. The advocates finished strong.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:27 AM
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I asked my Rep. to support Kucinich's bill, and a pony.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:28 AM
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Do "must pass" bills ever fail? The whips probably already know who's voting how, and that the bill's going to pass. This is just theater.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:29 AM
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Ummm, wow. It's really tightening up. Yeas are up three with five minutes to go. Deftly managed theatre!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:32 AM
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and in response to 230: usually you're right, this might be special. Calls are running massively against this bill.

Nays are ahead with 2:30 to go. The Republicans will definitely vote strongly against.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:34 AM
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If a "must pass" bill fails, it's an event, and it might presage a change in leadership. It does happened, though not often and I can't remember an example.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:35 AM
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Civics query: What is going on during these 15 min votes? Are members actually using the time to make up their minds? Are whips using it to try to bully people into voting one way or another? Do some members not vote until the end simply because they are procrastinating?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:36 AM
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This is terrible.

Will this bill do anyone any good? Does anyone know?

Will Congress ever pass anything that helps anyone? I can't remember it happening.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:37 AM
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aaannnd...IT LOSES


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:39 AM
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233 -- I don't think either caucus would change leadership. It would really depend on what happens in the markets in the wake of a no vote. It there's a huge drop, the pressue will be very strong to come back with a slightly modified version.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:39 AM
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And how come they still let people vote when there's no time remaining?

Dow is headed south...


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:39 AM
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The bill might unfreeze the credit markets, at least in the short run. Banks have stopped lending, which has the potential to cause the economy to seize up completely.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:41 AM
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aaannnd...IT LOSES

Representative democracy, bitchez. I guess phone calls do make a difference, esp. in the "People's House."


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:41 AM
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Wow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:42 AM
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I just heard 220 against. Ouch.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:42 AM
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I dunno, it's a a big roll of the dice with the entire U.S. economy at stake, but I'm still optimistic about the scenario I outlined in 162.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:42 AM
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So what happens now? Clearly there will be panicked selling on Wall Street today. Will they just try again?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:42 AM
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Off the topic of the bulk of this thread, yet on topic for the original post, this is rather well done: Sarah Palin Disney trailer

If it's already been linked, I will get down on one knee to beg your indulgence.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:43 AM
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aaannnd...IT LOSES

Are you serious?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:43 AM
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Dow has dropped 400 points in the last ten minutes, and still plunging.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:43 AM
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Dow has dropped 400 points in the last ten minutes, and still plunging.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:43 AM
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Post-walk weather report:Too effin hot for outdoor weights.

238:Dow is protected by the banning of short-selling on GE, and maybe others. Watch S&P and Nasdaq


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:44 AM
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Thank god it lost with a lot of both parties refusing to vote for it. Maybe the Democrats in the Democratic party can win some concessions.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:45 AM
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Will it go down a thousand?

249: People are just going to dump what they're holding. I bet we see trading suspended within the hour.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:46 AM
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Now bounced back up another 160 points.

Maybe the stock market is too moody to effectively rule the United States.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:46 AM
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I love Wikipedia. Sometimes the collective effort pools astonishingly well.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:46 AM
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Well, this is a real "Who's your Daddy" moment, isn't it. Pelosi is trying to figure out how to save the Democratic Party, her job, the financial system and the country, in that order.

Way too much inside baseball and too many Jedi mind tricks. With all the potential oxes being gored, surely there is a barbecue coming? Perhaps not.

No consensus on what is wrong means no consensus on how to fix the problem. Good luck, President Obama.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:47 AM
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I can't get the House website to load. How do I find out how my Congressperson voted?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:47 AM
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246: Yup. 226 to 206. Woo!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:48 AM
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255: You might call your rep's local (not DC) office. Their phones might not be overloaded.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:50 AM
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This is the entire AP squib from a few minutes ago. Who says word choice can't telegraph a reporter's viewpoint?

WASHINGTON - The House has begun voting on a $700 billion emergency rescue package for beleaguered financial companies.
Even as the electronic roll call began, Democratic and Republican leaders were uncertain about having enough votes to pass the politically unpopular plan. It's the most sweeping government intervention in markets since the Great Depression.
The bailout puts in place an unprecedented federal program to buy up rotten assets from cash-starved firms. The goal is to free up choked credit that was threatening to cause broader market turmoil.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:51 AM
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I always wonder how big the trades are that determine indices in those big swings.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:51 AM
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252:Rittholz said today that the markets were crashing because the bill might pass.

If they do go up now that will be embarrassing to some folks.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:52 AM
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247-8: Jesus, that's 800 points in all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:53 AM
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Bush: Pass Bailout Bill, Or Else

Or else what? He'll stamp his lame little webbed foot?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:55 AM
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Are we ignoring TLL?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:55 AM
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Is a rollcall posted anywhere?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:56 AM
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264: The vote is still open for last minute switching. The "nays" have gotten one more.

263: ?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:58 AM
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The vote is still live, I think - Republicans are twisting arms as we speak.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:59 AM
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262:Or else what? He'll stamp his lame little webbed foot?

This is Bush. He is still President for four months. He may have a 1929-level crash as his legacy.

I am not laughing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:59 AM
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254 is a big fat stupid lie, but I didn't want to stink up the place the way I often do. New leaf.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:59 AM
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This is good. Maybe some kind of bailout is necessary, but this has to mean they'll come back with a better bill.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 11:59 AM
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Motion to reconsider? Huh?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:00 PM
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265.1: Forget what I said. I think I was looking at an old screenshot. Still 227-206.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:00 PM
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Where are people getting live updates on the vote. The major news outlets just have "House is voting, stocks are down" as headlines. I can't get house.gov to load either.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:01 PM
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The little cracker opposition leader is preparing to take advantage. The morons are in the drivers' seat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:01 PM
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Motion to reconsider.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:01 PM
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I will be even more scared of Bush after the Democratic landslide.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:01 PM
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269: exactly right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:01 PM
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false alarm. No reconsideration, it's over for now.

Where are people getting live updates on the vote.

you need to get CSPAN.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:02 PM
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270: See, you thought this was the surprise ending, but then you look at your watch, and you see 15 minutes left in the movie's running time.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:02 PM
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I've got CSPAN on though I wish I had better.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:03 PM
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277: Their webpage isn't loading for me. I'll just have to trust you guys.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:03 PM
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272: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2005/04/12/VI2005041201139.html

You have to watch an ad, video is kind of jumpy.

I'm trying to get CSPAN to load.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:04 PM
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280: PGD may, just may, be using an old-fangled device known as the "television".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:04 PM
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Yeas at 304. It's going to pass.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:04 PM
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oh wait, i don't have a TV because I'm at *work*, maybe I should actually be working.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:05 PM
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Fuckers. They voted against it before they voted for it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:05 PM
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No more masturbating to the bailout bill.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:05 PM
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Change the order, if you want, JE, but no one is voting for the good of the country right now. They are all trying to figure out how not to get blamed. I say again, they can't figure out which problem they want to solve, so they can't get the right fix. Something is not better than nothing, at this point.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:06 PM
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Unless I'm misunderstanding and this is still the motion to reconsider, but I don't think so.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:06 PM
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"On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass HR 7175"

Does that mean pass the legislation, or pass it back to the floor for another vote? Anyone know?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:07 PM
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Someone please tell Sir K. whether or not she's misunderstanding? The suspense is killing me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:07 PM
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277:Good. Dump the Paulson bill, and move to the Swedish Bill.

Keep Congress in session til the election talking about the economy. Put campaign bucks into DNCC ads and turnout.

32 64, 80 08 realignment.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:08 PM
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Just stab me in the heart, Kraab.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:08 PM
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You must be misunderstanding. Cnn.com says "Bill Fails", no hedging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:08 PM
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Found this:

"H.R. 7175 - To amend the Small Business Act to improve the section 7(a) lending program (Rep. Velazquez - Small Business)"

So I guess the current vote is something else entirely.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:10 PM
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I have no idea what you look like, Kraab, but the next time I see you I'm going to cut you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:11 PM
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NYT says "House Rejects Bailout Plan, 228-205; Leadership Plans Second Attempt to Pass Bill."

Second attempt to pass the same bill? Why don't they attempt to come up with a better bill?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:11 PM
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DARN it, 7175 is too new to be on the thomas.loc.gov website.

(The bailout bill is HR 3997, though. Useful discussion of procedural issues comes, oddly, from a Kos post reprinted at a Ron Paul bb.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:13 PM
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Now they're voting on something about an infantry museum. I guess the second vote will come later. Sorry for the false alarm.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:13 PM
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Oooh! Public markup of bailout bill! Everybody go comment! (While I get back to work.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:15 PM
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TLL, I see the Democrats cutting their own throats politically, partly "for the sake of the country" and partly for the sake of their donors. They have nothing to be proud of, but they're not being partisan. This is a very unpopular bill.

The Republican deregulators who helped cause the problem are demagoguing the issue, which they do not really understand, and are proposing deregulation and tax cuts, for Christ's sake. The same solution they propose for everything. The panacea.

I'm glad the bill was defeated, and it was the Republicans defeated it who despite having their asses kissed, but we can't give them what they want because it would be much worse.

As you know, I'm sick of your knee-jerk Republican cynicism. "The Democrats are just as bad" is the last refuge of the Republican hack, and that's what you just gave us.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:16 PM
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295: Sorry, the Obama administration will be taking away your knives right along with your guns.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:16 PM
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296:There is still a second level of blackmail goin' on here, maybe.

If the bill fails, what might the Unitary Executive do, and what would the politics look like?

After pushing the Paulson Bill so hard, will Democrats really be able to push back on Bush grabbing the authority illegally, because, ya know, hilzoy posted all those pictures of the Great Depression on her blog.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:16 PM
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TLL, voters fucking hate the bailout bill. What do they have to do to make their preferences known to Congress? Burn it down?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:17 PM
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Now you're sorry, Kraab. Walt had to change underwear on your account.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:17 PM
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236, 239, 249: Hay guyz, I was at lunch. Did I miss anything?!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:18 PM
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||

If anyone sees teo, don't forget to wish him a happy birthday.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:18 PM
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HBD, bg!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:19 PM
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If by "her job" you just mean the speaker position, I think Pelosi is interested in her party, the financial system, the country, and her job in that order. As long as she's still in Washington she can plot a comeback, and she can put party, class and nation before her own interests.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:21 PM
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269

"... but this has to mean they'll come back with a better bill.

No it doesn't. For one thing it is not clear what alternative bill would get more votes. My guess is they try first to buy 12 votes with the sort of carrots and sticks the leadership has available.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:24 PM
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it was the Republicans defeated it

The people defeated it, JE, as Walt said. Personally, I think it was a shitty bill, but I think all the plans have had, under the guise of emergency, provisions that were partisan in nature that make for bad law. There is a deficit in leadership, and it shows. You and i may have different views on what would be a preferred outcome, but his bill wasn't it, and I do blame the Speaker, as it is her job.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:24 PM
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Her position is totally reasonable - if the administration is going to demand cooperation and a bipartisan bill, they need to deliver votes from house Republicans. If they want the bill to pass on only Democratic votes, then the Democrats should make a bill with everything in it that Democrats want.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:27 PM
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I do blame the Speaker, as it is her job

Umm, I think it's the job of the Financial Services Committee, isn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:30 PM
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Dean Baker (before the vote).

It's just bullshit that Pelosi was partisan. I opposed the bill, and any partisan Democrat should have. Pelosi's too close to finance.

The Republicans were the ones who defeated the bill, but it was cheap, dishonest, stupid opportunism on their part. This was Bush's bill, and it's Bush's crisis, and it's their crisis, but cheap opportunism is what Republicans are good at. Their counterproposal was utter imbecile bullshit. they'd already succeeded in squeezing concessions out of Pelosi, and now they'll try to squeeze out more, worse concessions.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:30 PM
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My guess is they try first to buy 12 votes with the sort of carrots and sticks the leadership has available.

Remember that the Democrats, in addition to being patriots, are politicians and cowards. They've stuck their necks out pretty far on the country's behalf, and shown their willingness to pay a gigantic ransom to Big Money in order to have the country returned unharmed. I have a hard time seeing them stick their necks out any further, given Republican intransigence.

I think one of two things has to happen: The Democrats need to get a better bill - one that the party can support - or the Republicans need to whip some of their own SOBs into line.

Of course, if you can't get the Republican Party to line up in favor of Big Money, there's a good chance that Big Money is just fucked - regardless of whether the rest of us go down the tubes, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:30 PM
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311: Yeah, I think this sort of recognizes that the Democrats can just put together their own bill and pass it in partisan force. The Republicans can't bring the votes anyway.

I don't anticipate a much better bill coming along, no matter what, but I think their real deadline now is sometime before the mid-November reporting dates for 3rd quarter financial results. If there's at least some good news to be announced about changes in the balance sheet since the Sept. 30th quarter-end, that should be a bit nice.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:32 PM
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there's a good chance that Big Money is just fucked

And really, they should be.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:33 PM
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I hope that Pelosi comes back with a Democratic bill (maybe the Swedish one) and puts the screws to Bernanke and Paulson. The sane Republicans, if there are any, have to quit obeying the loonies.

And a pony.

I doubt that the Swedish solution would pass, but maybe the Democrats will succeed in improving their bargaining position. Right now the House Republicans have all the marbles. I imagine that Pelosi is blowing them right now.

If Dean Baker is right, we don't need to be so afraid of the consequences of no bill at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:34 PM
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Yeah, but if Big Money gets fucked, I'll bet Little Money gets the clap.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:35 PM
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Yeah! Fuck big money!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:35 PM
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The Dow is down 500 points on the news. People are going to look at their 529's and 401(k)s and find they like a bailout after all, long as they can hold their noses. This is like financial Grand Guignol.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:36 PM
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I didn't see 318 before posting 319, but it's kind of awesome as a sequitor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:36 PM
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One thing's for sure: With this crisis, there's no way that Sarah Palin can continue campaigning. She'll have to come to D.C. to help negotiations, and skip the debate.

'Cause, you know, Republicans are too high-minded to play politics at a time like this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:38 PM
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That is, bloody yet highly stylized. How many points before the calls to Congresspeople turn around?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:38 PM
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if you can't get the Republican Party to line up in favor of Big Money, there's a good chance that Big Money is just fucked

This may be the case. Here's the problem: the number of people who understand finance is very limited, and the vast majority are in the financial sector. The rest of the country thinks of them as snake oil salesmen. But the machinery of the economy needs that snake oil to function. So, where do we find the honest broker? If everyone has already chosen sides, there can be no compromise. First agree to the goal, then decide the mechanism to achieve that goal.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:40 PM
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Is there a roll call up anywhere?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:41 PM
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The CSPAN interviews featured someone whose money was all on the stock market. She was strongly pro-bailout and Democratic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:43 PM
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320: People who aren't retiring soon may well think "buying opportunity" rather than "panic!" Personally, I look at my 401(k) and think, "Wow, 15% of my portfolio is still a triflingly small amount of money..." Honestly, I'm not at all sure I understand how it is this economic crisis affect me, personally, at all.

(Yes, I'm sure that's totally ignorant. But I can't be the only one thinking that way.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:44 PM
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325: I found someone saying the roll call will be here once it's official.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:44 PM
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Roll call


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:44 PM
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the broker dudes across the hall are going crazy.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:45 PM
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seriouso question: how can Big Money not lobby enough gop house cretins to get this to pass?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:48 PM
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Oddly, the moderate MN Republican Ramstad voted no. He is one of the ones that Boehner was counting on -- a non-wingnut who isn't running for re-election.

Both leaderships lost on this, I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:48 PM
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Wow, the time is right, and the yeas/noes are right, but they actually titled the bill "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide earnings assistance and tax relief to members of the uniformed services, volunteer firefighters, and Peace Corps volunteers, and for other purposes"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:49 PM
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327: Well, anyone who's hoping some boomer will just go away so they can have their job is in for a long wait. I'm going to be working till I'm 90. Also, you personally don't have to worry about Rory's college fund quite yet, but a lot of high-school students' tuition just evaporated.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:50 PM
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324: Solid economists and finance professors who study banks and liquidity issues have suggested plans, yet I've noticed few of their major ideas have been included in any version of the bills. That's about as close to disinterested but expert parties as you'll get, and they're mostly being ignored. Though the Dodd bill was at least closer than anything else proposed to the "buy assets cheap and recapitalize through equity stakes" camp.

327: Oh, I'm cackling with delight with every dozen points the S&P drops. Especially basic materials stocks like steel and cement, which are absolutely plummeting at the moment on concerns that no one in the world will ever want to build anything again. Even some of the best-run companies in this group are now trading at about half of their recent steady-state prices.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:51 PM
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Also, i don't think this bill is actually that unpopular. 538 has some polling.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:52 PM
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334: Although, yeah, buying opportunity.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:53 PM
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I don't see a pattern within the Democrats as to whom voted Y and who N.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:56 PM
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334: People keep college tuition funds invested in the stock market? Yes, I'm a bad mom for not yet having a college fund for Rory -- I wear it's on the agenda. I imagine now would be a good time to buy into a plan on the assumption that the recovery will kick in before she takes her SATs?

325.2: Wait, if materials prices are dropping, does this mean I just caught a break on what it's going to cost to fix my drippy basement?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:57 PM
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From Yahoo Finance: "The NY Times reports that government leadership plans a second attempt to pass the $700 billion financial bill, which conflicts with a CNBC report that there is no possibility of a second vote."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:58 PM
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That is, bloody yet highly stylized.

Are we going to get Seppuku? That would really round things out.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 12:58 PM
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339: The 529. It's been a hot product, I believe. It's one way to try to come up with tuition equal to X years of your salary.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:03 PM
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341: Paulson will go all Sweeney Todd on House Republicans.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:04 PM
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I don't think people have quite realized that the last several years of housing prices were artificially inflated, and those gains have now evaporated. that "wealth" is gone, and we will all be better off when that is recognized as a fact on the ground. Any bill that tries of stave off that recognition is foolish.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:04 PM
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339.1: Yeah... Go conservative, but you could certainly do worse than starting up a little something. My parents were lucky that I was born in the era of 13% muni-bond yields, so they used that to fund my education account. Sadly, there are few such nice-looking possibilities among bonds these days.

339.2: The plunging materials costs aren't the half of it. Just wait until all those brokers and traders retrain as plumbers, then you'll really find the bargains.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:05 PM
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Here's the problem: the number of people who understand finance is very limited, and the vast majority are in the financial sector.

Even stronger: the pundits have no idea, the bloggers have no idea, the man on the street has no idea, and neither do most of the politicians. That's where hilzoy gets it wrong today; this isn't a case of "be quiet and let the experts handle this." At best it's a case of "be quiet and hope the Congresscritters who have no clue get good advice from people who do have a clue but have an interest in how it shakes out, while they listen to thousands of screaming constituents who have no clue but want to see some heads."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:05 PM
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342: Combine this with the drastically decreased availability of student loans, and higher education is once again a privilege of the privileged. It's like a time machine took us all back to the 1920s. Next, the Wobblies show up. Yay!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:07 PM
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those gains have now evaporated

I don't think the evaporation process is over.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:07 PM
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Is it even possible for the Democrats to say now, "OK, we tried to be responsible and bipartisan, and we gave up a lot, but **BUSH FAILED US!, BOEHNER FAILED US!, AND MCCAIN FAILED US!!!**, so we're putting together out own plan"?

And then twist Bernanke and Paulsen's arms, telling them that the Democrats are the only game in town, and that their only responsible choice was to support the Democrats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:08 PM
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346: The situation is not that hard to understand. The critical fact that is missing from the public discourse is the true state of the banks. The banks of course has every incentive to lie, and have managed the neat trick of lying down to Congress and up to everyone else.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:09 PM
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I'm in the midst of refinancing my house. The loan guy called this morning to see if I wanted to rate lock, but I had shit to do, and no time to go through it all, so I told him to call back late in the afternoon. I haven't decided yet whether this turn out to have been good or bad.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:09 PM
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The price of higher education is going to have to come down, if only because no one will be able to afford it and no one will be able to go massively in to debt.

Same thing that happened to houses, actually.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:09 PM
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So what kind of plan would appeal to virtually all Democrats? Nationalization seems unlikely.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:12 PM
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The critical fact that is missing from the public discourse is the true state of the banks.

Right, but as you note, that information is critical. I have no idea what to believe about the state of the banks. I'm not sure they do. This is kinda relevant to the whole bailout thing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:12 PM
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House Democrats, that is.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:12 PM
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I don't think the evaporation process is over.

Another 25%, depending on local market. Regression to the mean, and all that. The median priced home must be able to be bought by the median income. If not, please provide evidence as to some structural issue in the local market (rent control, beach view, flood zone).



Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:13 PM
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Combine this with the drastically decreased availability of student loans, and higher education is once again a privilege of the privileged.

Yes, but a lot of people are going to be pushed into what might be called "middle education", community colleges. My institution seems set to double the number of students with little budget increases and no new faculty.

Caroline and Joey have 529s, but we have plenty of time to ride this out.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:13 PM
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I'm not sure how much of an idea the economists have. They can rule out obvious bullshit, but not much more. All of them inevitably have political agendas (not a bad thing), but most of them also have material conflicts of interest, and this kind of thing is genuinely very difficult to understand.

I agree with Bob that this isn't the kind of thing that the experts can manage. It's really got to be a political issue. Unfortunately, American politics is sick.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:14 PM
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Oh, I'm cackling with delight with every dozen points the S&P drops. Especially basic materials stocks like steel and cement, which are absolutely plummeting at the moment on concerns that no one in the world will ever want to build anything again. Even some of the best-run companies in this group are now trading at about half of their recent steady-state prices.

Thing is, by historical (pre-1995) standards the equity markets are still way overvalued. The supranormal dot-com runup was never fully dissipated. P/E ratios seemed to incorporate a higher level of steady state "new economy" type growth in the future.

And basic material commodities have a huge runup over the last year or so. It's not like $95 oil is cheap based on the standards of, say, 2006.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:14 PM
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The supranormal dot-com runup was never fully dissipated.

Remind me again why Greenspan is a genius?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:16 PM
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360: He had the sense to keep priming the pump until he was no longer in office.

Even at this task, Bush is a failure.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:18 PM
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353 355

There probably isn't one. That is part of the problem. The opponents of the current bill have no agreed alternative. There may be no majority for anything.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:19 PM
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Holy crap, the Dow is down nearly 700 points again. There's some dissipation for you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:19 PM
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360: He got Andrea Mitchell to marry him?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:20 PM
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Industrial development and investment climate of Uttar Pradesh will be severely affected by the recent killing of the CEO of Italian firm Graziano Transmissioni in Greater Noida, a survey said.

Forbes Magazine is whining about "class war" and the "politics of envy", the fuckers. They ain't seen nothing yet.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:23 PM
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He got Andrea Mitchell to marry him?

She's not exactly Scarlett Johansson, but tastes differ.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:23 PM
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For Emerson, who was looking for the pattern in the opposition, it looks like Fivethirtyeight has the scoop.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:24 PM
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359: Absolutely true, but that's based typically on a trailing 10-year earnings measure. Finance drove a lot of that increased price-over-historical-earnings boom. Plus prices just never fell enough after the 2000 bust. There's a reason I'm only looking at specific companies that are trading:

1) Far below average on price-to-multiyear-trailing-cash-flows valuations
2) Top businesses in their industry, often with a decent chunk of the market locked up
3) Trading vastly below semi-naive DCF estimates of their fair values that were made recently (and those estimates already included some mean-reversion)

The thing to bear in mind with a lot of the extraction and basic materials industries is that the full profit effects of the run-up in commodities prices were never actually priced into the stocks. Oil companies hit a peak at valuations that accounted for $70-80 a barrel in long-term oil prices. Similar case for steel and mining corporations. Yet now a lot of these companies are seeing their stock plummet at rates that match the fall in commodities prices, so it's a pretty severe net overreaction. Now, I'm hardly going to place bets on oil, since I have little confidence in long-term price estimates (though oil companies themselves have been conservatively funding projects based upon a $60 long-term price). But I'm sure that we'll have a harder time finding good substitutes for cement and steel anytime soon.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:25 PM
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There may be no majority for anything.

Competing goals, diametrically opposed. One cannot simultaneously help the bankers and the "homeowners".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:26 PM
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364: I didn't know that. And he banged Ayn Rand. Quite a player for a man who looks like a toad.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:27 PM
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366: Yeah, but see rob's toad comment.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:29 PM
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Yes, but a lot of people are going to be pushed into what might be called "middle education", community colleges.

This is an excellent path to a career as a technician. Not exactly upward mobility for a middle class student.

I don't really know how tuitions are at state universities. I got a well-regarded and unbelievably cheap degree from Michigan back in the olden times.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:29 PM
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367: The swing votes were decisive and pushed the opposition over the top, but the non-swing Congressmen were 50-50. I was especially trying to find a pattern of D No votes v. D Yes votes.

In the two states I'm familiar with, OR and MN, nine Democrats split 4 Yes -5 No, and four Republicans split even. None of them were on the 538 lists. In Minnesota the liberal Ds were Yes and the centrists and Blue DOgs No, in Oregon the most conservative D (Hooley) was Yes and the other three were No.

In a lot of ways this in a true conscience vote. The only coherent factions I see are the Republican wacko faction and the bipartisan establishment faction.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:36 PM
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This is an excellent path to a career as a technician. Not exactly upward mobility for a middle class student.

Not necessarily. Community colleges can be a great stepping stone into more elite schools -- two years at community college cost + two years as a transfer to a good four year college = not such a bad idea.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:36 PM
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Competing goals, diametrically opposed. One cannot simultaneously help the bankers and the "homeowners".

I didn't understand what you were getting at before with your discussion of competing goals, but this seems crazy.

If you think the Bush/Dem plan is primarily - or even secondarily - aimed at helping homeowners, you are mistaken. If you think the Republicans' plan is primarily aimed at helping homeowners, you're nuts.

The Bush/Dem plan is aimed at helping the financial system by helping bankers. The Republican opposition's plan is aimed at not taking blame for the Bush/Dem plan.

That is all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:38 PM
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374 emphatically seconded. I have a friend who did two years at community college, transferred all of her bio/chem credits effortlessly, and finished up with an Ivy League degree.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:38 PM
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Could we move this over to the new thread Becks put up?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:38 PM
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The Republican plan was aimed at something?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:39 PM
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377: Why, so you have a fresh new thread in which to stab in the heart again?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:41 PM
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379: Mea maxima culpa. What can I do to mend your bloody heart?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:43 PM
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PF- IMO there were are three reasons that the bailout failed:

1. The Republican Leadership wanted the bill to fail so that they could blame the Democrats.

2. "The people" were against the bill, because it favored bankers over homeowners.

3. 2 enabled 1


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:43 PM
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I'm really in favor of CC tech training. For one thing, a tech job can help fund a four-year degree. If you have to work while in school, getting $30/hr is a lot better than getting $20/hr.

I think that the college pipeline to success is going to be unrecognizably changed in 10-20 years. It's unsustainable. Kids with family money will do well, and frugal kids with reasonable expectations, a strong work ethic, and a lot of determination will still have a chance. But the party's actually been over for awhile.

As things are, I think that parents are best off spending money and time beefing up their kids' educations while they're in HS, and of they don't get a free 4-year ride sending them to a CC in a tech area.

I hated being an underemployed liberal arts bum, in case no one notices.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:46 PM
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Typo: "$20" is a typo for "$10", which is my estimate for unskilled college jobs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:48 PM
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I have a friend who did two years at community college, transferred all of her bio/chem credits effortlessly, and finished up with an Ivy League degree.

Well, one hopes that tuition will indeed come down, because 2 years at Harvard at current price costs $65,000. A bargan compared to four years, but it's still going to take the community college graduate a while to save that up, and student loans are getting hard to come by.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:49 PM
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381, those two are the same. If the bill wasn't unpopular, the Republicans would not have wanted to "blame" it on other people.

Are the Democrats who didn't vote for it getting credit for blocking it too? After all...they are the majority party...so if they all wanted it to happen it would have happened.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:49 PM
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The Republicans wanted the bill to pass so that they could blame the Democrats, but a bunch of Democrats weren't willing to play.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:49 PM
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I hated being an underemployed liberal fine arts bum, in case no one notices.

Oh, me too.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:52 PM
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The elite schools usually have excellent scholarship programs, so getting your kid's skills up is more important than saving money. Last Chance U. wasn't much cheaper for my son than Almost Ivy U. (Tufts).

It's the bright average kids from moderately prosperous families on down who will be pinched worst.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:52 PM
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There was that whole "Is college worth it?" stuff out a while ago, and the thrust of the article is that the more technical the field, the bigger the difference. Also if you parlayed your English degree into law, big difference than say schoolteacher.

Remember that four year residential college is more about credentialing and networking, as JE is fond of pointing out. Academia has done a good job of marketing. Maybe there should be a disclaimer, like in the tiny print of a Jenny Craig ad where some tubbo lost 100 lbs in 30 days- results not typical.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:56 PM
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383

Well, one hopes that tuition will indeed come down, because 2 years at Harvard at current price costs $65,000. A bargan compared to four years, but it's still going to take the community college graduate a while to save that up, and student loans are getting hard to come by.

Your family has to be pretty well off for Harvard to charge the full rate.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 1:57 PM
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Boehner is on TV blaming Pelosi for being mean and making his herd of little moron shits vote against a good bill. The leader of the Republican opposition is standing behind him smirking.

Maybe Boehner can get them all to parade up and explain one after another that they voted wrong because of blind rage and now want a chance to vote right.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:12 PM
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389 trumps 374, 376 in my world. I see a resume with Montgomery College after high school, and I think 'couldn't get in to College Park.' Much less Georgetown.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:13 PM
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392: Do you think changing costs and loan availability might modify your attitude? Or would you just think "insufficiently above average to win a scholarship"? Would class standings at the end of law school be enough to counter the CC curse?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:17 PM
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Law is totally atypical in the centrality of credentials.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:17 PM
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392: I think that the high ranks of society are already mostly closed off to ordinary folk, and will become more so. I think that a lot of us are talking about getting into or staying into the middle class, hopefully the upper middle class.

If the educational system does collapse along with everything else, people will have to start to read resumes differently. And some jobs are still skills-oriented rather than networking-oriented.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:18 PM
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I'm way less snobby than a lot of peple I know, including, especially, clients.

I just looked at the firm site: we have 20 partners in my office. From 20 undergrad institutions: Ohio U., Washington, Wellesley, Montana State, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Cincinnati, NYU, Penn, Wesleyan, Brown, Emory, Harvard, Notre Dame, St. Louis, Tulane, Minnesote, AU, Miami (Ohio). Doing well in a good law school will get you over, but, even better, doing well after: most of the people above came here as partners -- only 7 of us were ever associates here, and one of those only for a year.

This gets to the real point: just about anyone who can get out of law school at the top third of a class can do the law thing, and the difference, in practice, between the ones who did really well and the ones who just got by isn't noticeable. What is really different is who you met along the way, and how well one does at converting relationships into cash.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:31 PM
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Your family has to be pretty well off for Harvard to charge the full rate.

IIRC, though, that's a large majority (~90%) of Harvard students.

In any case, these questions always get framed as about Harvard and elite schools, when the facts seem to be a) most people don't go to elite colleges and b) they *still* have a hard time paying for college even at rates far less than Harvard's.

Not exactly upward mobility for a middle class student.

Worth pointing out not just that CC-to-four-year school is a well-established option, but that often it's not upward mobility *for* the middle class, but *into* it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:34 PM
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What is really different is who you met along the way, and how well one does at converting relationships into cash.

I actually had thought that law was a skilled profession. Though then again, I've also asked myself whether Scalia just makes everything up on whim, and that his "legal philosophy" is just a big joke.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:36 PM
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What is really different is who you met along the way, and how well one does at converting relationships into cash.

Is this important to the hiring firm in terms of clients the new hire might bring in?

(I didn't mean to accuse you of snobbery, btw, just curious about how all this works.)


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:43 PM
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Of course, I'm terrible at it, as evidenced by the amount of time I spend with you people, with no obvious hope of every making any money from it.

Scalia's philospohy is a big joke.

It is a skilled profession, but the skills aren't all that difficult to master. I have no doubt, John, that you could be a good lawyer.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:43 PM
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397: Cala, what that tells me is that the real screening for the elite is not college admissions and financing. The real screening is K-12 and earlier. (Having rich grandparents is a good plan).

But I agree that it's in the middle that we'll see the crunch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:45 PM
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Thank you, Charley, for a nice lefthanded comlpiment.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:46 PM
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Worth pointing out not just that CC-to-four-year school is a well-established option, but that often it's not upward mobility *for* the middle class, but *into* it.

Yes, of course, and a very good thing, but it's a track a lot of middle class students may be pushed onto, is what I think Rob was saying. Which represents a lowering of expectations for them, and will make the path more competitive and difficult for the people who had been on it in the first place.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:47 PM
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399 -- Lateral partner hires show their stats over the last several years, tell us which clients they think will come with them, and we call those clients and ask them if it's true. Not much mystery to that part. (And actually, it has to be very exact, because of the conflict rules.) The "synergy" is the mystery: if we can bring Ms. X into our group, we can make a run at Company B -- they'll want what she does along with what we already do, blah, blah, blah.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:47 PM
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And Charley, when I get my billion I'll start filing nuisance lawsuits left and right, and I'll funnel it all through your firm! You'll end up with more houses and cars than McCain!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:48 PM
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I'd love to have your business, John, but I think you'd really get a lot more satisfaction from pursuing them yourself. Go to the U's night division.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:53 PM
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Charley, I won't have the time. Scarlet Johansson is very high-maintenance, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:55 PM
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401: I'd agree with that, yes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 2:56 PM
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408 to 407


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:01 PM
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Cala knows Scarlett.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:06 PM
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John! Are you saying that when you have a billion, you'll turn your back on non-relationshipism?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:11 PM
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397

IIRC, though, that's a large majority (~90%) of Harvard students.

Harvard claims otherwise.

"... Families with incomes above $120,000 and below $180,000 and with assets typical for these income levels will be asked to pay 10 percent of their incomes. For those with incomes below $120,000, the family contribution percentage will decline steadily from 10 percent, reaching zero for those with incomes at $60,000 and below. ..."

Currently, two-thirds of Harvard College students receive some form of financial aid, and half receive need-based scholarship aid from Harvard, totaling more than $98 million. ...


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:12 PM
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We'll have one of those jet-set thingies. Officially we'll be "just friends", like Paul McCartney and his dad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:21 PM
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307: HBD, bg!

Thanks Witt!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-29-08 3:39 PM
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