Sunday, February 7, 2010

Last Call

Saints fail to lose, 31-17.

Who dat?  Super Bowl Champs.

Seriously, best Super Bowl since Panthers-Patriots.  Hats off to the Saints.  Been a long, long damn road for that franchise and for New Orleans.

Greek Fire

Pretty disturbing stuff from Greece on the country's economy.  Tyler Durden:
Remember the proverbial run on the bank? Well, that was the norm (or rather the outlier) before governments decided to backstop entire financial industries  residing within their territory. As a result, the post-Lehman version of "the bank run" will henceforth be referred to as "the country run" and for an example of one in practice, look no further than Greece. The Guardian reports that investors have pulled a stunning €8-10 billion since the Greek crisis commenced in earnest last November. If true, this is the beginning of the end for the troubled EMU-member country.
Ten billion Euros gone in six weeks.  That's one huge cliff Greece has fallen off of.  Monday's numbers are going to be bad...really bad.

It's a good old fashioned bank run.
If you will recall a mere 15 months back, the one factor that truuly excerbated the pre and post-Lehman fiasco, both domestically and globally, was investors' loss of conifdence in the system: first in the deposit custodians and then in money markets themselves. As the financial system is never, by definition, prepared for massive fund flows in the outward bound direction, this is the greatest nightmare of any regulator or any central bank. If indeed the money rush out of Greece has commenced, then it is too late to save the country, no matter what Papandreou or Almunia will say: the only voice that matters is that of the depositor, and what is being said is the polar opposite of the claims of those who continue lying and telling us that everything is fine.

Putting the €10 billion number in perspective: Greece is facing roughly €8 billion in near-term maturities in April and May each. This is Greece, not America, and €10 billion is still a massive number. The latest miraculous Greek bond issue, which was supposed to sound the "all clear" call, was for €8 billion. Investors in that particular GGB are already underwater. 
The chocks just got pulled from the wheels.  Will the Greek Fire spread to the other PIGS nations, Portugal, Italy, and Spain? How quickly will that fire spread?  Because like the legendary substance, once it starts burning, there's no way to put it out.

Watch carefully.  I can bet you California is.

While You Were Out At The Game

A lot of noise coming that a big nasty scandal is dropping tomorrow for NY Gov. David Paterson, one so bad it will require his resignation.  The fact the story's coming from the Business Insider says everything you need to know.
This past week, a rumor emerged that the New York Times is working on a huge bombshell with plans to "Spitzerize" New York governor David Paterson.
Several media outlets have reported on these rumors.

Elizabeth Benjamin at The Daily News describes the report as "much worse" than the governor's previous admission of an affair with a state employee, though she declines to name NYT by name.

We've now heard from a single source familiar with the goings on at the Governor's office that the story will likely drop on Monday, and that the governor's resignation will follow.
If so, the Wall Street fatcats are 2 for 2 on getting rid of NY Governors who try to go after the banks. The next guy who's been swinging at that pinata has been current AG and favorite in 2010, Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

He'd better be ready.  This pinata swings back.  Hard.

[UPDATE 7:40 PM] And now the Business Insider says the Governor's office denies everything and the Times story will not run tomorrow.

Bowl Of The Superness

No no, Obama's having a half a day with the Party of No to talk to them about health care reform.  Televised.  Live.  And he's saying "Bring your A-game."

The president made the offer in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric just hours before the Superbowl. Obama challenged Republicans to come to the discussion armed with their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system.

"I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama told Couric. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table... I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."

The invitation to join him later this month follows comments he made on Thursday during a speech at a Democratic fundraiser in which he said he wanted to sit with Republicans and "walk through the [health care plans] in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense."
That rain-like noise you hear is several of gallons of collective flop sweat from Republicans hitting the floor at roughly the same time.

On the other hand, it means Obama still stupidly believes that there are GOP votes on health care to be had.  Perhaps he should be holding this session with Democrats instead.  It would be far more productive.

Gas Power Plant Explosion In Connecticut

A power plant in Connecticut exploded going through a test run today, killing at least two:
The plant was under construction and had not opened, Middletown Officer Kevin White told CNN. It was set to go online later this year, he said, and was in a "testing phase."

People up to 20 miles away reported hearing or feeling the blast.

"It felt like the house was shaking," Peter Moore, who lives about 10 miles away in Durham, told CNN. He said he thought at first there had been a traffic accident on his street or there was a problem with his house. "It was really big," he said.

Moore said his mother, who lives in Woodbridge, about 20 miles away from the plant, also said she heard the explosion, and said it "sounded like someone pounded on the back door a couple of times."

"It was almost like an earthquake," nearby resident Lynn Townsend told CNN affiliate WTNH. She said she heard the explosion and went outside to see "a very big, bright orange flame" between the plant's two smokestacks, and immediately dialed 9-1-1.

"It really shook the house," she said. "Everybody was scared. The kids started to cry."

Bernadette Nyland told WTNH she was in her yard when the explosion occurred.

"They were doing the firing of the engines this morning and so something went wrong and it blew up and flames came shooting up almost as tall as that stack," she told the station. 
Hoping this isn't as bad as it appears to be.  It also goes to show you that infrastructure is important in this country, and sources of power other than fossil fuels and nuclear are generally less prone to explode.

Quote Of The Week

Reporters complaining about newsroom cutbacks and blaming bloggers should consider the resources used to cover the Tea Party and the former governor who will never again hold elected office.
Just sayin'.

When will the Village get the point that the Tea Party hates them nearly as much as they hate the Dems?

Sunday Funnies

This week's Bobblespeak Translations are up.  Hammerin' Hank, Old Man Greenspan in one comic book and Timmy and Jake Tapper on the other:
Tapper: you’re not serious about cutting the debt
are you?

Geither: for god’s sake Obama promised a fake spending freeze

Tapper: oh pshaw anyone can do that

Geithner: deficits matter and we have to raise
taxes and cut spending

Tapper: sure-fire election winner genius

Geithner: I iz smart

Tapper: You and I know we have to cut Medicare and Medicaid

Geithner: I am giving you a serious look

Tapper: I also giving you my serious look

Geithner: I also - look at my serious face

Tapper: speaking of right wing talking points -
will you promise to never raise taxes?

Geithner: I iz deeply serious
And we are deeply screwed.

Zandar's Super Bowl Prognostications

Go Saints.  Just so Drew Brees can fly to San Diego and go "Suck it."

Also, every Republican save the ones from Louisiana are picking the Colts.  The GOP loves an underdog unless that underdog is from French Guyana, or whatever that city with the ethnic people is called again.

Morning In Palinland

Although General Blogosphere Rule #17 states Andrew Sullivan will eventually ruin any legitimate Sarah Palin argument by going after Trig Palin, he hasn't quite descended that far yet this week and still has a real point to bring up about the Cult of Sarah:
If you are one of those people who think this person cannot become president of the United States, think again.

Two lines stood out for me. The first is a sign that she believes and her followers believe that she has a divine destiny. She is Esther, with a touch of martyrdom:
"I will live, I will die for the people of America."
The second was the Dolchstoss attack on the duly elected president of the United States:
"We need a commander-in-chief not a professor of law."
These two potent messages - delegitimizing Obama as "the other" and as a weak-kneed traitor to the troops, and casting herself as the avatar of the real America, ready to die for its survival - are political gold. Most politicians in liberal democracies shy somewhat from stating them so obviously, because they clearly invoke certain, shall we say, non-democratic forms. Not she.

The media, too scared be tarred as elitists, will never demand policy specifics from her; there is a huge constituency out there (rightly) outraged by Washington corruption and she now has the critical mantle of the rogue outsider; she can channel Christianism and fuse it with the slogans of phony "fiscal conservatism"; she will blame every lost job on Obama; and she will accuse him of betraying the troops and befriending America's enemies. Behind her are the Cheneyites. 
And if they Cheneyites view Sarah as their best ticket back to the White House, you'd better believe she'll get the nomination in 2012.  Political history has taught us that we always get the elected leaders that the electorate deserves to have, and right now we have a cranky, know-nothing electorate that demands instant gratification and is still quite creeped out by the black guy in the White House talking about giving health insurance, political asylum, first-class citizen rights and clean air to gays, terrorists, brown people and people who don't pay taxes.  It's coming at their expense.  "Where's my cut?" they say.  "I worked hard.  I played by the rules.  Where's my American Dream?"

And they think Sarah will give it to them.  She just threw her hat into the ring for 2012.

Sarah Palin doesn't have to have any answers, or policy specifics, or anything.  God will provide.  That's her platform.

We're screwed.
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