Tuesday, February 24, 2009


My thoughts on the speech:

It was solid, upbeat, and strong. Even the House Republicans were standing and applauding several times during the night. Obama committed some strong language, that we "do not torture", that dropping out of high school is "quitting on your country", that America "will rebuild".

He gave a pretty decent explanation of the credit crisis and the bank problems. He challenged Congress to get him the legislation he wants to sign, but he also gave strong reasons why that legislation needs to be passed into law.

Cure for cancer in his lifetime, a little much. Maybe. But you know, Obama's got a good, what, 50 years plus ahead of him? Why not?

I liked the speech, overall.

Cramer Versus Plan N

Jim Cramer hates Plan N with the burning hatred of a thousand burny suns that burn things, but he's accidentally told the truth in his tirade:
What's at stake with nationalization? Why do I oppose it so much? Why do I feel that its proponents are glib and over their heads and have done no homework and do not have a stitch of rigor? Maybe because I think that nothing is impossible for those who don't have to do it themselves. I have said again and again that as much as you may hate the bankers who got us here, it is well beyond the ken of this government to fix it. I have said that the analogies to the Swedish "success" of nationalization are chimerical, because the Swedish banking issues were small and manageable. I have said that you simply can't compare the two.
On one level, Cramer's right. The free market got us into this mess...but the government may not be able get us out.

However, he seems to think that because the government's not capable of doing it, the people that got us into this mess somehow are. That's just as false, if not more so. I'm far more willing to let the government try then I am the people who cost us several trillion dollars and our economy. Frankly, they can't be too much worse.

Epic Failure To Launch

Like a rocket, baby.
The U.S. government's first attempt to map carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere from space ended early on Tuesday after a botched satellite launch from California, officials said.

The $278 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory blasted off aboard an unmanned Taurus rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:55 a.m. EST (0955 GMT), headed for an orbital perch about 400 miles above the poles.

The 986-pound (447-kg) spacecraft was tucked inside a clamshell-like shroud to protect it during the ride into space. But three minutes into the flight, the cover failed to separate as expected, dooming the mission.

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight we could not make orbit," said John Brunschwyler, the Taurus program manager with manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corp.

The spacecraft, also built by Orbital Sciences, fell back to Earth, splashing down into the southern Pacific Ocean near Antarctica.

The irony of a satellite designed to measure carbon dioxide strapped to a huge rocket and crashing near Antarctica is so very rich in Vitamin Fail that it meets 100% of the daily nutritional intake requirements of Fail for most of the country.


Dubya's Keepin' Busy

While my good friend Bon The Geek let me know today that Dubya's been offered a job as a hardware store greeter in Dallas, it looks like he's pursuing a career as...wait for it...

Public speaker.

Insert your own snark here, I'm having a 17-wisecrack pile-up inside my head. Most of them involve the current unemployment rate in the state of Texas.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Maybe...just maybe...I should stop being so hard on the Village.

No, seriously. By serving as the echo chamber for GOP talking points when the vast majority of the voting public is ignoring the Republicans altogether right now, they continue the delusion for the GOP and Obama and the Democrats only grow stronger as a result.

Your liberal media, indeed.

Michael Steele Keeps On Giving

The more Michael Steele keeps opening his mouth and being stupid, the more comfortable I feel about the Dems' chances in 2010.
Yesterday on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said he was open to withholding RNC funds from Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) because they voted for Obama’s economic recovery package. “I’m always open to everything baby,” he told host Neil Cavuto. If state parties want to enact retribution against those Senators, then the RNC will follow their lead, Steele explained.
You do that, Mike. Replace those guys with hard core fundies in deep blue New England and the Mid-Atlantic, and see how badly they lose.

We could sure use more Democratic senators. You're doing a great job. Bonus stupid:
Steele said his solution for the economic crisis is to put in place a spending freeze. Republicans are quickly rallying around the old Hoover agenda of enacting a spending freeze in the midst of a recession.
Yep. Keep on spinning out those oldies, man.

Heck of a job, Steeley.

Epic Helicopter Ben To The Rescue Fail

Up in the sky, it's our hero! Ben Bernanke will save us!
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he's hoping the recession could end later this year, but he cautioned that a full economic recovery will take "more than two or three years."

The head of the central bank said a turnaround will only occur "if actions taken by the administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability." He also acknowledged the recovery might not go as well as hoped.


No Bottom In Sight

Quick, what's worse than the 18.2% drop in the Case-Shiller home price index in November? How bout an 18.5% drop in December?
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined 18.5 percent in December from a year earlier, the fastest drop on record, as foreclosures climbed and sales sank.

The decrease in the S&P/Case-Shiller index was more than forecast and followed an 18.2 percent drop in November. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over- year records began in 2001.

Record foreclosures are contributing to declining property values and household wealth, crippling the consumer spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy. The Obama administration has pledged to spend $275 billion to help stabilize the housing market, including $75 billion to bring down mortgage rates and encourage loan modifications.

“The massive inventory overhang in the market and the surge in foreclosures mean prices will continue to fall rapidly,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, said today in a note to clients. “The administration’s rescue plan will, in time, slow the rate of decline, but it won’t happen immediately.”

Economists forecast the 20-city index would fall 18.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from declines of 17.4 percent to 19 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, all areas in the 20-city survey showed a decrease in prices in December, led by a 34 percent drop in Phoenix, a 33 percent slide in Las Vegas and a 31 percent decline in San Francisco.

So until the CSI starts stabilizing, forget any idea of economic improvement. Yes, it may be roughly 45 days behind the curve, but it's been crumbling for a good two straight years now and keeps reaching record drops.

Until that settles off...and there's really no evidence that it will any time soon...we'll keep floundering.

Popping The Stupidibubble(tm)

The Village stupidibubble(tm) continues to deflect reality around Washington reporters, but a big fat dose of post-stimulus reality is threatening to pop it.
Overall, 68 percent of poll respondents approve of Obama's job performance, a finding that puts him on par with the average for the past eight presidents at this point in their tenures. Ninety percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents approve of Obama's performance. Sixty-four percent said they approve of how Obama is handling appointments to the Cabinet and other top positions in the administration, despite tax problems and stumbles that have led to three of his top nominees withdrawing from consideration.

Although Obama has encountered near-unanimous GOP opposition to his stimulus plan in Congress and widespread criticism for a housing bailout plan that some say rewards people who have been fiscally irresponsible, 64 percent of those polled back the economic recovery package, and the same percentage support the mortgage proposal. The broad support for the recovery package comes as just 10 percent said the bill was too heavy on spending and too light on tax cuts, the primary contention of the Republican leadership in Congress.

Overall, 60 percent of poll respondents approve of how Obama is dealing with the economy.

But wasn't Obama in trouble? Hadn't he largely blown it already? Wasn't his administration on shaky ground according to the pundits? Aren't we in the era of AFOP now where the groundswell of anti-Obama anger is threatening to sweep the GOP into power?

Why, my goodness! You mean the Village is full of complete crap?

Head to head, though, Americans put far more faith in Obama than in congressional Republicans: Sixty-one percent said they trust Obama more than the GOP on economic matters; 26 percent side with the Republicans in Congress. On that question, Obama's advantage is bigger than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush ever had over the opposition party in the legislature.

Overall, Democrats maintain an edge of nearly 2 to 1 over Republicans as the party that Americans prefer to confront "the big issues" over the next few years.

You mean so far the American people are actually behind our President? After years of Bush's sub 40% numbers it's a shock, I know...but there you are. Obama has a thirty-five point edge in who Americans trust more...that's massive. But the headlines with that sixty percent approval for the economic recovery act? America is "Divided over stimulus."

So, you have to ask why the Village is trying to portray the Obama administration as hopelessly out of touch with the American people, why CNN.com's top story at this hour is about the "coming out party" for the man giving the Republican response to Obama's speech tonight (Bobby Jindal) rather than President Obama's actual speech tonight to Congress. Meanwhile the most popular guy in the room is still that Rick Santelli asshole, bravely fighting Obama's Socialist dictatorship across the Village airwaves. You see, Obama clearly doesn't have the support of the "real American people", the wingnuts and the Village Idiots. You see, the poll is nothing more than a huge lie because it's a product of the Lie-beral Media, and so they refuse to accept it.

It hasn't occured at all to the Village..and by extension the Republicans controlling them...that they're the ones out of touch. The Village thinks it's more important that Republicans like Obama less, and furthermore it's a sign of failure on Obama's part, despite the fact that a majority of the country clearly supports him. Your Liberal Media has decided that only the Republican opinions count. It's simply reflexively doing what has been ingrained into it since Carter and Reagan, giving far more credence to conservative views. Obama has failed to impress conservatives masquerading as Sensible Village Centrists, therefore he has failed, period. They won't see it any other way.

And they may never do so.

Luckily, the rest of America has told these morons to go to hell. And that's a good thing. The only way to kill the Village is to rob it of all the power it has over us, and blogs and web news out there countering the Village on a daily basis is only healthy for the democracy.

The days of the Village as gatekeeper of America's opinions are over. They're resisting tooth and nail, and that means allying themselves with the equally power-robbed Republicans. That era is clearly coming to a messy end.

If there's a lesson to be learned over the last several years, it's that all bubbles pop.

[UPDATE] Steve Benen, Greg Sargent, Balloon Juice and the Double G have more.


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