Friday, March 7, 2008
The Bush "boom" has produced very tepid job growth at best. But the latest jobs report
confirms shows a weakening economy*:
Not a good trend.
I have been of the opinion that the recession we're in, or soon to be in, will be mild. Recent trends and lack of government action to intervene in the housing mess with any kind of effective strategy makes me think we're heading for something worse.
*Keep in mind, these are the government's statistics which are greatly skewed to show better than real jobs growth.
Posted by Greyhair at 8:37 AM
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Ok, so the guy was a prisoner of war. Nobody deserves that, and he deserves kudo's for having survived.
But what about the rest of his career?
At the Academy, aside being known as a "rowdy, raunchy, underachiever" who resented authority, Midshipman McCain became infamous as a leader among his fellow midshipmen for organizing "off-Yard activities" and hard drinking parties. Robert Timberg wrote in his book, The Nightingale's Song, that "being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck."Go read the whole thing for more flavor of McCain's exploits. It sounds like what Bush's career had been if he'd actually served, i.e. carousing, getting plum assignments due to his family, misusing his position in the military and generally being a f@*kup.
McCain's grades were "marginal." He drew so many demerits for breaking curfew and other discipline issues that he graduated fifth from the bottom of the class of 1958. Despite his low "class standing," and no doubt because of the influence of his family of famous Admirals, McCain was leap-frogged ahead of more qualified applicants and granted a coveted slot to be trained as a navy pilot.
McCain, the "below par" pilot, eventually lost 5 military aircraft, the first during a training flight in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while trying to land. The Navy ignored the crash and graduated McCain in 1960.
While deployed in the Mediterranean, the hard partying McCain lost a second aircraft. Timberg described the crash: "Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula, he took out some power lines which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral."
Unscathed, McCain returned to Pensacola Station where he was promoted to flight instructor for Naval Air Station Meridian in Mississippi. The airfield at Meridian, McCain Field, was named in honor of McCain's grandfather.
That's just what we need. Another frat-boy screw-up running the country.
Posted by Greyhair at 12:56 PM
Chris Matthews is a terrible hack. Last night he, and Brian Williams, carried on ad naseum about McCain's admiral ancestors and his steller Naval carrier (which in reality wasn't quite so stellar). But manlove really showed when Tweety said this:
Matthews: If you look at the box this year it came in, which is marked “change.” It is ironic that the man who represents the least change is in the solidest position to be the next president right now.We already know that Tweety has an affinity for those fly boys and their crotch straps, so I guess this shouldn't really be a surprise.
Posted by Greyhair at 12:49 PM
The Clintons will do anything to win. Anything:
9:30 AM: Even in the afterglow of a truly super Tuesday, the chief Clinton backers today have not outlined a plausible scenario for how she actually overcomes the Obama lead and gets enough delegates to win, except....they (Terry McAuliffe and Gov. Ed Rendell) are now introducing the possibility of a re-vote in Michigan and Florida. If Hillary wins big there, then she has a shot, but the Clinton managers have resisted the idea, claiming, until now, that they already won in those states -- even though they were "illegal" primaries from the party's view.
Now Obama is on the spot. He can plausibly claim that Clinton had agreed to party rules, now wants to break them, so tough luck. But the party can shift course itself and say it's okay if the two states want to spend the money to vote again. Then Obama looks like he has dissed the voters in those states, who would then take it out on him -- running up the exact big margin she needs to win. Could happen. He may have to agree to a vote and a fair fight -- which would make this a whole new ballgame, with The New Math suddenly not so one-sided in his favor.
Posted by Greyhair at 12:43 PM
"Experience. Senator McCain is running on one thing. ... Look at the man. Clearly he has hundreds of years of experience. And yet when you question his record, he says this: 'I want to make it very clear: this is not about decisions that were made in the past.'"
Posted by Greyhair at 10:13 AM
When it was announced last night that John "Grandpa" McCain would be meeting (and annoited) by Bush today I thought the same thing:
David Gregory reports for NBC News: "A source close to Bush says McCain has to be careful with a Bush embrace.
"'Better to do it now rather than later,' this source says, 'Get it out of the way.'
"Bush can pass the baton to McCain to help with party unity and declare McCain the future of the party. McCain needs all those things. McCain, the source says, can then say to Bush, I need you to do these things without having to associate too closely with him."
You know that picture of McCain hugging Bush is going to play prominently in the November campaign. And given that 80% of the public think that we should "change course", it will be an effective ad.
Posted by Greyhair at 10:05 AM
Hillary (and the press) are calling it a big victory. And she did win the popular vote in Ohio and Texas. But she did not gain any ground in delegates. In fact, it appears that the majority of Texas delegates will go to Obama.
So what do we learn? First off, the results were consistent with predictions from many weeks ago. Obama couldn't "close the deal" last night and put Clinton away. But it was an uphill fight for Obama and unfortunately Clinton's 3 am phone call ad appears to have worked in Ohio. Isn't that pathetic?
I'm angry at American voters. Politicians of all stripes know a fundamental reality. Negative, nasty campaigning and ads work. No matter how disgusting it may seem, or how much they have to "hold their nose", they'll do it to win. And voters fall for it every time.
There is a war going on in the Democratic party and there is yet to be a winner. The war is between progressives who really want to change the direction of the party, and the established Democrats of the DLC stripe. I don't think we're going to know the winner of this war, and of the nomination process, until the convention. But make no mistake. If Obama emerges with a majority of the popularly elected delegates and the super delegates give it to Clinton, there will be an open civil war in the Democratic party that will put victory in November in jeopardy. I know I've said that the rules shouldn't be changed and I stand by that. I'm just talking about the realities and pressures that will be at work on superdelegates.
One thing I can guarantee. The media is eating it all up with a spoon, and to a degree the entire Clinton/Obama situation will keep McCain off the front pages and will actually help Dems. But eventually a lack of resolution will benefit only the media and Republicans, two of my least favorite groups.
Added: Congrats to AP for getting the story exactly correct:
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama regained lost ground in the fierce competition for Democratic convention delegates on Wednesday based on results from the Texas caucuses, partially negating the impact of Hillary Rodham Clinton's string of comeback primary victories
Late returns showed Clinton emerged from Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas and Ohio with a gain of 12 delegates on her rival for the night, with another dozen yet to be awarded in The Associated Press' count.
That left Obama with an overall lead of 101 delegates, 1,562-1,461 as the rivals look ahead to the final dozen contests on the calendar. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination.
Posted by Greyhair at 8:11 AM
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Despite a popular uprising, it appears that the House is now ready to sign on to the telecom immunity deal. In very intense and healthy negotiations (yes, snark intended), a compromise has been reached:
"This is not amnesty," Wainstein [administration hack] said at the meeting. "This is targeted immunity" for companies who meet requirements specified in the Senate bill that include having received an attorney general's certification that their assistance was determined to be lawful.Ah huh.
Getting that cert should be quite a difficult undertaking in the Bush administration. Perhaps they should just use Monopoly Get-out-of-jail-free cards? Quite a compromise. Glad to see Pelosi et. al. really push the Bush administration to trade in some chips.
Posted by Greyhair at 10:10 AM
Well, we're here on another "deciding" Tuesday night primary. Here's my prediction.
Obama will win Texas and lose Ohio. Clinton will do better than expected in both and declare victory. The mantra will be "on to Pennsylvania" which will be the next "deciding primary".
Like it or not, this thing is going to come down to the superdelegates. On that issue, I agree with what I heard Mark Shields say on Lehrer's show. The entire idea of superdelegates was that in the event that the voters couldn't decide, party pro's could and should. Whether you agree with that philosophy or not, it's been the rules of the game that everyone agreed to for 2008 and should be carried through to conclusion.
Posted by Greyhair at 9:50 AM
File this under the "too big to fail" category.
The financial squeeze on banks and is continuing to get worse and worse. Home mortgage defaults are about to peak (March 2008 should be the peak). Note that peaking means we're not even half way yet, but the entire credit and financial system is wheezing like an old emphysemic. Recent interest rate cuts (see: throw money at the problem) have really had little to no effect in relaxing the credit problems and fear reins in the financial markets. Bernanke:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called Tuesday for more action to prevent distressed homeowners from falling into foreclosure, including a suggestion for mortgage lenders to reduce loan amounts to provide relief to struggling homeowners.It is incredibly ironic on a political level. It now looks highly likely that the Bush administration (see: conservative, free markets) is increasingly under pressure to create a "New Deal-type" bailout of home owners in order to save the banks. And that's what will happen. Look in the next weeks for the administration to put forth bailout 2 which will include some sort of relief for homeowners who are all to ready and willing to simply leave the house keys on the counter and walk away.
"This situation calls for a vigorous response," Bernanke said in a speech to a banking group in Florida.
On the idea of cutting mortgage values, Bernanke said, "Principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure. "
Posted by Greyhair at 9:31 AM
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
It's so tiresome to point this out again, but Diane Feinstein, among many other "centrists" who have been punked by Bush over and over again, got punked once again. Mukasey, head of the Justice Department, if refusing to enforce a Congressional subpoena. No surprise, but completely wrong:
Here is Pelosi's letter to Mukasey: "There is no authority by which persons may wholly ignore a subpoena and fail to appear as directed because a President unilaterally instructs them to do so. Even if a subpoenaed witness intends to assert a privilege in response to questions, the witness is not at liberty to disregard the subpoena and fail to appear at the required time and place. Surely, your Department would not tolerate that type of action if the witness were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. Short of a formal assertion of executive privilege, which cannot be made in this case, there is no authority that permits a President to advise anyone to ignore a duly issued congressional subpoena for documents."
Posted by Greyhair at 9:45 AM