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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Nice Work If You Can Get It

September 30th, 2008 - 6:05 pm

For the first time, Rasmussen has Obama polling at over 50% support, and his favorable ratings are killing McCain’s.

Now we know what a compliant press can buy you.

Programing Note

September 30th, 2008 - 4:20 pm

I’m on this afternoon’s PJTV Blogger Whip with Ed Driscoll and Charlie Martin. A good time was had by all, even though there was no actual whipping.

Friday Recipe

September 30th, 2008 - 1:37 pm

Only it’s not Friday, and it’s not mine. But it is chili.

Taking a Bath

September 30th, 2008 - 12:18 pm

It’s one of those strange paradoxes of the modern economy. When things go to hell, everybody flocks to the dollar — even when the hell began right here in the US.

Of course, it’s not really a paradox. When the US economy catches a cold, Europe’s gets a fever, and everybody else gets one of those nasty sinus infections when it looks and feels and sounds like you’re coughing up brain tissue.

Why? Because despite all our problems, we still have the freest, most dynamic economy in our weight class — which means we might be the first to get into trouble, but we’ll go in less deep and stay in for a shorter time.

Hindsight, Foresight, Whatever

September 30th, 2008 - 11:40 am

Excuse the lengthy excerpt, but this needs to be read:

Adding to their woes, mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are facing a federal grand jury investigation into their accounting practices.

The mortgage finance companies said Monday that a federal grand jury in New York is investigating accounting, disclosure and corporate governance issues at Washington-based Fannie and McLean, Va.-based Freddie.

Fannie and Freddie said they received subpoenas Friday from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan as well as requests from the Securities and Exchange Commission that they preserve documents. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government earlier this month as their mounting defaults and foreclosures threatened the entire mortgage market.

The government investigation focuses on activities starting in 2007, Freddie Mac said in a statement.

Critics have long questioned the companies’ bookkeeping. Last November, for example, a Fortune magazine story said new accounting procedures at Fannie Mae masked potential losses on bad loans.

And several years ago, both Fannie and Freddie were forced to restate billions in earnings after federal regulators discovered accounting irregularities at both companies.

The scandals led to the replacement of the companies’ top executives. Freddie Mac’s former CEO, Gregory Parseghian was ousted in December 2003. Fannie CEO Franklin Raines and chief financial officer Timothy Howard were swept out of office a year later.

Wouldn’t 2004 have been a good time to issue subpoenas, instead of a few useless weeks before the 2008 election?

While thinking about that, watch this:

Vested Interests

September 30th, 2008 - 10:30 am

Iraqis leaders are watching the US elections pretty closely, according to Omar Fadhil. I bet the people there are, too.

Thug Squads

September 30th, 2008 - 9:30 am

Pirates IV: Curse of the Somali Coast

September 30th, 2008 - 8:46 am

The US Navy, in what is almost certainly a first, has stopped cold a Russian tank battalion.

More Guts Than Brains

September 30th, 2008 - 7:40 am

When McCain suspended his campaign, I said that, “Typical for McCain, it’s a gutsy move. Also typical for him, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out before deciding if it was a smart move.” Well, the evidence is coming in — and it’s becoming clear that McCain was a lot more gutsy than smart.

Here’s what I mean:

At a rally in Ohio, Republican John McCain accused rival Barack Obama of failing to show any leadership during the congressional negotiations over the bailout, which fell short in the House today. Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the bill’s defeat.

McCain put his country first, stopped campaigning, and threatened to postpone the first debate, all to lend his considerable Washington skills to… a failed bill. Obama put himself first, and at least got in a couple more days of effective campaigning without making such a public fool of himself.

Blue-Red Planet?

September 30th, 2008 - 6:32 am

More evidence of (long ago) water on Mars:

NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft has discovered evidence of past water at its Martian landing site and spotted falling snow for the first time, scientists reported Monday. Soil experiments revealed the presence of two minerals known to be formed in liquid water. Scientists identified the minerals as calcium carbonate, found in limestone and chalk, and sheet silicate.

But exactly how that happened remains a mystery.

“It’s really kind of all up in the air,” said William Boynton, a mission scientist at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Not that I’m packing my suitcase or anything, but let’s hurry up and find some present day water.

UPDATE Snow nearly on Mars!

Three Thumbs Up

September 30th, 2008 - 5:20 am

Now this looks cool:

LiquidTV is a two-part product: the TiVo PC software that runs the show and a WinTV-HVR-950Q TV tuner card from Hauppauge. This package sells for $199—which includes a one-year TiVo subscription—but you can also purchase the TiVo software by itself for $99 if you own a compatible TV tuner card. Along with the included tuner card, Nero provides a branded TiVo remote, IR transceiver, portable digital TV antenna, and an RCA input cable for the card.

If they don’t eventually come out with a Mac version, I might have to build myself a bargain-basement PC, load it up with hard drives, and network all our shows throughout the house.

Required Reading

September 29th, 2008 - 7:26 pm

You probably have already, but click back over and commit it to memory.

Get Your Own People in Line First

September 29th, 2008 - 6:15 pm

Barney Frank does the math:

That was a remarkable accusation by Republicans against Republicans, said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee: “Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country.”

I’m sorry, Barney, but which is the majority party? Maybe it’s time to start acting like it.

Programing Note

September 29th, 2008 - 2:59 pm

My latest appearance on the Michael Koolidge Show is now up on Mike’s podcasting archives. We talked about — what else? — McCain, Obama, and the debate.

You can listen live to Mike on WLBK 1360 AM.

Good for Them/Bad for Us

September 29th, 2008 - 12:01 pm

China’s military is looking a lot more like ours.

Religion of Peace or Arson or Whatever

September 29th, 2008 - 11:44 am

Mostly good news from London:

Early this month, Gibson Square publishers here announced that it would publish “The Jewel of Medina,” a novel about the early life of A’isha, one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad. It was a bold decision: the book’s United States publisher, Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, had canceled its publication in August amid fears that it would offend and inflame Muslim extremists. (It has since been bought by another American publisher, Beaufort Books.)

For his part, Martin Rynja, Gibson Square’s publisher, said that it was “imperative” that the book be published. “In an open society there has to be open access to literary works, regardless of fear,” he said. “As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.”

Early Saturday morning, Mr. Rynja’s house in North London, which doubles as Gibson Square’s headquarters, was set on fire. Three men were arrested on suspicion “of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism,” the police said.

Now, when are Andy Sullivan’s “Christianists” going to come burn down my place for all that nasty talk about evolution?

Oh, and kudos to the New York Times for actually mentioning what makes the book so controversial:

The book tells the story of the relationship between the Prophet Muhammad and A’isha, who married him as a child and is often described as his favorite wife. Ballantine Books bought the rights to it in a two-book deal for a reported $100,000, Ballantine had planned to publish it in mid-August.

But it scrapped those plans after being warned that the book “could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment,” Thomas Perry, deputy publisher of Random House Publishing Group, was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

The Times, it seems, has much bigger ones than the folks at Random House.

Joel Get Off the Babysitter

September 29th, 2008 - 10:17 am

Stephen Bainbridge offers the best defense I’ve seen for the Wall Street Bailout:

Too big to fail is bad public policy. But I’m persuaded that the very real prospect of too many to fail presents an entirely different question. We are faced with a situation in which a systemic credit freeze will take down not just one or two banks, but many, including not just Wall Street but also local and regional banks. In turn, as more banks fail, it will become increasingly difficult for non-financial businesses to borrow. The ripple effect could be disastrous.

There’s also this uncomfortable little fact: Free markets didn’t get us into this mess, and so it seems unlikely that they’d react quickly enough to get us out of it. Especially given the political climate of the last, oh, century. Washington and markets have been in bed together since at least the time of Teddy Roosevelt.

And the offspring have turned out even uglier than predicted.

It’s a Rhetorical Question

September 29th, 2008 - 8:40 am

Regarding Iran, is Obama saying one thing in the debates and another on his website?

Well, he’s trying to, anyway. “Tough, direct negotiations” is still the lamest parse of a lame statement I’ve heard in almost 30 years of watching politics. And that’s including both Bushes. And the definition of “is.”

Obama can’t be thinking he’s taking the Right for fools — because we’ve been calling him on this since Day One. Do the Netroots know Obama thinks they must be idiots?

Disarm America

September 28th, 2008 - 6:00 pm

Because the Macsmind blog has been shut down by some pro-Obama goons. Is this a Missouri thing, or are they all over?

Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch

September 27th, 2008 - 3:24 pm

(From Gateway Pundit.)

The Washington Post has a fun little online feature which might settle a few bets. Click on any part of the transcript from last night’s presidential debate, and their video player will swoop right to that bit.

Better Late and All That

September 27th, 2008 - 1:10 pm

How the hell did I miss Jules Crittenden’s liveblog of the debate?

Go Figure

September 27th, 2008 - 12:30 pm

Henry Kissinger isn’t too pleased to have Barack Obama lying about him.

Ouch

September 27th, 2008 - 11:34 am

The real New York Times isn’t much better than this.

Mail Bag

September 27th, 2008 - 10:00 am

Aaron sent this in last night:

People have been using a false Iraq war analogy when discussing the ridiculous rush for a bailout.

For one, there was no rush to war. I remeber in the summer expecting to go in in the fall. It was done ridiculously slowly.

But I have my own analogy that it think will resonate well with people that I would love to see McCain bash Obama with:

The Iraq war was a no brainer. Saddam had been a threat to the region which prevented growth and development throughout, he used the implied threat to bully neighboring countries, al qaeda types and other small minded anti-americans saw allowing Saddam’s apparent (real or not) transgressions as taking face from America, and Saddam’s large army and the uncertainty of WMD made taking on Iran impractical.

We had pocket Aces, the flop was two Aces and a King. Saddam was bidding up the pot and bullying his neighbors suggesting he had a full house. What are we supposed to do, fold? We have 4 aces, it doesn’t matter whether or not Saddam has the boat. If he wants to go all in, you take him all in.

This, when the economy was stagnant and people were willing to lend to us for practically free. For every al qaeda recruited, we trained thousands and got experience is cultures AQ operates in or are similar to.

I got nothin’ to add to that.

RIP

September 27th, 2008 - 8:37 am

Paul Newman has died. I’m going to watch Hud this afternoon and say goodbye.

And maybe at least the car wash scene from Cool Hand Luke, too.

Spam We Need

September 27th, 2008 - 8:13 am

Now this is funny.

Recharge

September 27th, 2008 - 6:45 am

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Apple for its iPhone batteries.

But if you do lose power to your iPhone, you can always yo-yo it back.

THIS Is CNN

September 26th, 2008 - 9:13 pm

On a night when Obama was left holding his own, spanked, bottom, CNN’s front page looks like so:

Remember, Eric Alterman says the media is biased to the right!

That Fucking Limey

September 26th, 2008 - 8:57 pm

Because he’s either braver or dumberer than I am, reader “BP” (name withheld by request) read Andrew Sullivan’s liveblog of tonight’s debate. And caught Sully saying, “We may soon end this nightmare of barbarism in the heart of the United States. And then we can bring the war criminals to justice.”

BP was good enough to include a screenshot, in case Sully regains a portion of a part of whatever might remain of one of his extant senses, and flush that pair of reprehensible sentences down the memory hole.

(Click to embiggen, save, and pass on to your favorite nutrooter.)

When will the Atlantic tire of Sully? I know I have already. Running on nearly five years now.