Monday, August 29, 2011

Blue Monday, Stevie Ray Vaughan edition

Well, 'cause there ain't no songs called "New England Flood."

And, a'course, they sure could use some rain in Texas.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cheney's dog

If he could, he probably would have shot Barney in the face.

Among the head-bursting revelations in Dick Cheney’s new book is the news that the former Vice President’s Labrador Retriever, Dave, once got into big trouble for an unprovoked attack. The incident in question took place at Camp David, where the canine companions of the president and vice president were accompanying their masters on retreat. Apparently, Cheney’s dog caught sight of the president’s treasured terrier Barney and immediately launched into a “hot pursuit.” The chase got so out of hand that President Bush was moved to demonstrate a rare demand for accountability, appearing during the fracas to ask, “What’s going on here?” The mad dog could only be calmed with a pastry from the breakfast buffet. Soon after, Cheney was told that his dog was no longer welcome at Camp David. But what could have driven the beast to such aggression in the first place?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't expect no help at all

As we await Irene


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yakity Yak

Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller interviewed in 2010. RIP.

Nowadays it’s hard to imagine how shocked and offended a large segment of middle-class America, not to mention the traditional songwriting establishment, was by Jerry Leiber’s slangy, ungrammatical lyric to his writing partner Mike Stoller’s rough-hewn blues melody. In a Rodgers and Hammerstein world, this wasn’t polished songwriting, sniffed the guardians of polite pop culture; it was musical barbarism, its sinister, possibly lewd hidden meanings flaunted by a gyrating star who in 1956 seemed as dangerously compelling as a sexy alien who had just dropped down to Earth from outer space.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Republican shields his children from their mother

I don't want to say she thinks Carl Lewis -- the greatest Olympic athlete of all time -- is "uppity," but...well...yes, I will.

Burlington County Republican Chairman Bill Layton acknowledged Monday that Pat Delany stepped down from the Assembly this month because of his wife's missive to Lewis' campaign.

The Delanys are white. Lewis is black.

Jennifer Delany's email said, "Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled knowing something about politics."

Layton says Pat Delany decided to leave office to shield his children from "a hurtful and embarrassing public spectacle involving their mother." Delaney says he's sorry.

"Sorry" for what, he did not say, apparently.

UPDATED: Thanks "Tom"


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today in the Republican "Theater of Ideas"

Hey, if they want to be the candidates of smoke-choked skies, water that makes your kid's hair fall out, and leaden toy paint, I say, more power to them.

And meanwhile, the similarities between Palin and Perry (and I'm not just talking hair here) are just too damned savory not to relish.

All of which raises the question: is Romney brilliantly ensuring that he doesn't have to swerve too far "to the center (i.e., somewhere west of Crazy Town)" if he wins the nomination or is he ensuring that he can't win the Republican nomination?

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Blue Monday, The Who edition

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Friday, August 12, 2011


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wharf Rat

Well, yesterday got out of hand and I didn't post anything. In any case, John Cole does a much better job than I would have done. 16 years. Shit.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Blue Monday, Neil Young edition

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Downgrading development

James Kwak thinks S&P's downgrading of US treasuries from AAA to AA+ is asshatted preposterous and ultimately doesn't mean much of anything.

As I said before, I don’t think that S&P has added anything new to the world’s stock of information. In the short term, the most worrying thing about a downgrade is what I called the “legal-mechanical consequences”: the possibility that investors, who value their own opinions more than S&P’s anyway, might have to dump Treasuries because they are no longer AAA. Apparently, this is not going be a huge problem. Binyamin Appelbaum of the Times says that (a) many of the rules place Treasuries in a different category from other AAA securities to begin with and (b) since the downgrade only affects long-term debt, money-market mutual funds are safe.

Still, I think the whole thing is preposterous. S&P downgrading the United States is like Consumer Reports downgrading Coca-Cola. Consumer Reports is a great institution. For example, if you want to know how reliable a 2007 Ford Explorer is going to be, they have done more research than anyone to figure out the reliability history of every single vehicle. Those ratings are a real public service, since they add information to the world. But when it comes to Coke and Pepsi, everyone has an opinion already, and no one cares which one, according to Consumer Reports, “really” tastes better. When S&P rated some tranche of a CDO AAA back in 2006, it meant that some poor analyst had run some model fed to her by an investment bank and made sure that the rows and columns added up correctly, and the default probability percentage at the end was below some threshold. It might have been crappy information, but it was new information. When S&P rates long-term Treasuries AA+, it means . . . nothing [sic]. And if any serious buy-side investor were tempted to take S&P’s rating into account, she would be deterred by the fact that the analysis that produced the rating included a $2 trillion arithmetic error.

Indeed, that error certainly makes it seem that they came to the conclusion before they bothered with running the numbers. If S&P thought that making this highly political action would re-establish their credibility after having failed to see the inevitable collapse of the housing bubble, I think they are in error there too.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Shuddup 'n play yer guitar

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Republicans have consequences

I guess the market's response to the debt ceiling deal means we are all Krugmans today. Even our Gaultian overlords appear to have suddenly realized that the prospect of double dip recession and no promise of stimulus or action by the Federal Reserve may be worse than a small increase in their marginal tax rates.

And just remember: Republicans now control the government's reaction to economic upheaval, Obama owns the (awful) consequences, and the Washington press corps is in charge of the play by play.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Matt Damon schools glibertarian reporter and her "shitty" cameraman

Monday, August 01, 2011

Blue Monday, Otis Rush edition

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