Friday, February 29, 2008

Major Clinton campaign screw-up:

You've probably read about the lastest Clinton television ad that touts her experience in a dangerous world. It starts out fine with:
It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing ...
It ends with a picture of Hillary on the phone. But here's the problem. The Clinton campaign had 3 a.m. so much on their mind, that they put it on the screen
as the time to go to the precinct convention! If this is an example of "Clinton competence in caucus states", no wonder Obama is doing better in those places.

This is a catastrophe. How could the Clinton campaign allow this to happen?

On the bright side, maybe Mark Penn could offer up yet another excuse. They're usually pretty amusing.

UPDATE: For those who accuse this blog of photoshopping the image, all I have to say is "prove it!"


Latest Clinton dispatch:
To: Interested Parties
From: Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Clinton Campaign Spokesman (aka Baghdad Bob)
Date: Friday, February 29, 2008
RE: Obama Must Succeed

The media has anointed Barack Obama the presumptive nominee and he's playing the part.

With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and - of course - making speeches.

If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there's a problem.

If he cannot halt global warming by Monday, there's problem.

If he cannot reverse the bursting of the housing bubble before the polls open on March 4, there's a problem.

If he cannot find the missing RNC emails prior to Easter, there's a problem.

If he cannot raise Norman Mailer from the dead before the Pennsylvania primary, there's a problem.

Democrats, the majority of whom have favored Hillary in the primary contests held to date, have their doubts about Senator Obama and are having second thoughts about him as a prospective standard-bearer.


Fighting to the bitter end:

Story: (excerpts)
Clinton may challenge Texas vote rules

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has raised the possibility of a challenge to Texas' primary and caucus rules just days before the contest, drawing a warning against legal action from the state's Democratic Party.

Aides to Clinton said earlier this week they were alarmed at the lack of clarity about many of the caucus rules and expressed their concerns on a conference call with Obama's staff and state party officials.

... Clinton aides questioned a provision allowing caucus attendees to vote to move the location if they choose to do so, and whether people who had cast so-called "provisional ballots" in the primary would have their votes counted in the caucus. They also expressed concern about the automated phone system precinct chairs would use to call in the results of each caucus, saying the party hadn't yet trained anyone to use the system properly.

... many of Clinton's senior campaign advisers in Texas had helped to develop the rules governing the state's caucus system. A Texas party official also noted that former President Clinton won the state's caucuses in 1992 and 1996 following the same rules.
This thrust against the party can't help Clinton's status with superdelegates. But since 2008 may be the only chance she has for the nomination, she's apparently going for broke.

UPDATE: Burn Orange Report comments:
There is method to the Clinton campaign's mad preemptive sword rattling over the Texas primary/caucus. They want to delay and disrupt the reporting of the delegate count. They hope that if they win the popular vote, they can avoid, at least for one news cycle, news reports that even if they do so they will very likely lose the delegate fight in Texas and fall further behind Obama in the national delegate contest.


Who writes this stuff?

From Consumer Spending Stalls (AP):
While the 0.4 percent rise in consumer spending before accounting for inflation was larger than had been expected, it is inflation-adjusted spending that is used to compute overall economic growth.

A flat reading in this category in December and January means that last year ended and the new year began on an exceedingly weak note, since consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity.

Many economists believe that the country will slip into a recession this year, if the downturn has not already started. They are predicting that the slump will be a mild one and will end by midyear when the rebate checks from the recently passed $168 billion economic stimulus package start showing up in mailboxes.

However, more optimistic analysts believe it is still possible that the country will skirt by without a full-blown recession. President Bush told reporters on Thursday that he did not think the country was in a recession.
Opinion ranges from "mild slump that ends when rebate checks are sent out" (!) to "no recession".

All it takes, at worst, is $168 billion in (borrowed) spending, and the last seven years of multi-trillion dollar debt-fueled growth will be taken care of.

Don't worry, be happy.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blue states!

Explain this: (excerpts)
Record-High Ratio of Americans in Prison

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation.

On average, states spend 6.8 percent of their general fund dollars on corrections, the report said. Oregon had the highest spending rate, at 10.9 percent; Alabama the lowest at 2.6 percent.

Four states — Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut — now spend more on corrections than they do on higher education, the report said.
Even if you take the view that blue states (i.e. presumed to be "liberal") spend more for better-quality incarceration, you would also expect them to spend more for higher education. Yet the only states spending more on corrections than higher education are blue states.


This is terrible news:

... no one at the luxury resort, near Vail, will be hitting the slopes — or eating $105 Kobe steaks — on Countrywide’s dime this week.

Countrywide Financial, the besieged mortgage lender, has canceled a gathering of bankers from smaller mortgage banks at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch ski resort (where room rates begin at $725), Countrywide said in a statement on Sunday. [...]

The three-night gathering, which was to include business meetings as well as skiing, drinking and sampling expensive meals like $140 caviar and Kurobuta pork osso bucco at the Spago restaurant, had already drawn negative press.
How will the bankers cope with this reversal of fortune?


You absolutely must read this story from Fox "News":

Scientist: Terrorists May Use Robots in Future Attacks
Terrorist groups may soon deploy killer robots against unsuspecting civilians, a British researcher warned Wednesday.
I like the "unsuspecting" civilians part. Never was their slogan We Report - You Decide more apt.

The Weekly World News didn't really go out of business. It merely took over Fox.


What a peculiar country:

The United States:


George Bush is making sense:

From today's press conference:
"We need to be exploring for more oil and gas. And taking money out of the coffers of the oil companies will make it harder for them to reinvest. I know -- they say, well, look at all of the profits. Well, we're raising the price of gasoline in a time when the price of gasoline is high."


If it were "Honest" Ben Bernanke:

Over at The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz has a statement the Fed would make if it told the truth. Totally on the money (pun intended).


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shorter Ben Bernanke:
I'll fight inflation only after it becomes well entrenched in the economy.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro on superdelegates:

She's a Clinton supporter. Excerpts;
... superdelegates ... are the ones who can bring together the most liberal members of our party with the most conservative and reach accommodation.

... superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They were, and are, expected to determine what is best for our party and best for the country.

... delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats.

at the Iowa caucuses ... Mr. Obama ... won his delegates fair and square, but those delegates represent the wishes not only of grassroots Democrats, but also Republicans and independents.
Regarding her first point: Sometimes the political situation demands a liberal or a conservative approach. Forcing an accomodation between left and right frequently leads to muddle, an uninterested electorate, and not much change.

Regarding her last point: If it's objectionable that Iowa allows non-Democrats to participate, why does the Democratic Party allow it to take place? "Fixing" the problem via superdelegates is a peculiar way to address this "problem".

At the end, Ferraro takes the position that if superdelegates are to reflect the will of their constituents (i.e. be generally for Obama) then they should also have the convention reflect the will of Florida and Michigan by seating those delegates. As she puts it, "leaders of their state parties brought them to the polls on a day that had not been endorsed by the leaders of our national party". But earlier in her essay she is talking about superdelegates being "created to lead". So who is leading whom? There are three orthogonal thrusts to the essay regarding what criteria should be used by various subgroups - each managing to be favorable to Clinton. It's all very confusing.

UPDATE: Various blogger reactions here 1, 2, 3, 4.


Obama in Somali garb:

Who cares? Who cares who circulated it? What a waste of energy.

This "issue" should be ignored by both campaigns and the press.


The next CNN poll:


About a month away:

From 4,000 U.S. deaths in Iraq. Because it's a round number, a "hard number" (i.e. not an estimate), and a substantial number, it will be invoked frequently this year.


Why Nader is running:

He's aware that history was set to judge him as having known back in 2000 that his candidacy would help Bush and most everything that followed (tax cuts for the rich, trashing the environment, cut backs on social spending). And that's a judgement he's keen to avoid.

So, what to do?

Simple. Convince historians that he's nuts. And what could be nuttier than Ralph running for president this year?

The history books will not say that Nader consciously helped Republicans. Instead, they will merely say that he was insane.

UPDATE: After an extensive search, found one blogger that's pleased to see Nader run. So he'll get at least two votes in November (his own and the blogger's).


Shorter Bill Kristol:
Barack Obama is a vain, preening, patronizing, haughty liberal who doesn't know his place. And his wife doesn't know what she was talking about.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama deserves to be dinged:

For sending out a mailer that incorrectly attributed a "quote" by Hillary, when it was the newspaper's view (and later corrected). There is no excuse in this Internet age for sloppy handling of facts.


Hillary Clinton's demand:
"Enough with the speeches and big rallies ..."
Yeah, who needs 'em? What sense is there in a politician rallying supporters? Politicians should stay at home, in their den, quietly reading journals on social and economic issues.


The Washington Post's "bipartisan" = "in the interests of Republicans and big business"

In an editorial about Obama, the Post writes:
Mr. Obama was not part of the bipartisan Gang of 14 that tried to avert a showdown on judicial filibusters; he was not among the 68 senators voting for a bipartisan agreement on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; he dissented from the part of the bipartisan immigration deal that displeased unions.
  • The Gang of 14 worked to undermine established Senate rules permitting filibusters against Supreme Court nominees
  • The FISA bill referred to is exactly what Bush wants
  • The immigration bill was in the interests of business
The Post calls those positions bipartisan, but that's only because some Democrats and some Republicans are on board. Broadly inclusive bipartisan measures are rare these days. In the past, "bipartisan" may have meant something that had wide support, but that's not the case in today's political environment.


Shorter David Broder:
Nowhere in my column do I cite any statistics showing that crime is on the rise, but that won't stop me from promoting this Republican-friendly issue in an election year.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

An ugly nine days ahead:

In light of ...
  • [FRIDAY] Two top Clinton campaign officials touting the "Obama is chummy with terrorists" meme
  • [FRIDAY] Clinton saying she will push for Florida and Michigan delegates to be seated
  • [SATURDAY] Clinton's strong language condemning an Obama mailer
... any notion of "accepting defeat" (which some thought was displayed during Thursday's debate) should be vanquished.

It looks as if the Clinton campaign has fully embraced Mark Penn's "go negative and go hard" advice.

This is it, folks. The Clinton campaign will will do what it takes to win. Since the Texas and Ohio primaries are so important and pretty much the last chance for Clinton, the campaign will throw everthing they have into the race, and throw everything they have at Obama. If they have dirt, or something that looks like dirt, they will deploy it.

This will be a test for Obama and how he handles it will matter. He's probably better off being dismissive and acting as if the Clinton campaign doesn't exist. But will he?


Sorry Obama:

In response to Clinton's charge that Obama is distorting her position on NAFTA, he said:
"The truth is that Sen. Clinton supported NAFTA before she ran for president. That is indisupatable. She called it 'a victory' in her book. She told people it has proved its worth. T hose are facts."
She did call it a victory. But that doesn't mean she supported the trade deal. Sure, for most people, claims of victory are associated with support for the outcome, but if you parse the language very carefully, that's not a guaranteed conclusion. In the narrowest reading, "victory" simply means that the legislation passed (presumably against some opposition) and nothing more.

Salespeople take advantage of presumed inference all the time. Why not Hillary as well?


Ignorantia juris non excusat:

From Differences between Civil and Criminal Law in the USA:
The statement "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is an ancient legal doctrine:
Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law; but because 'tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to confute him.
John Selden (1584-1654), posthumously published in Table Talk, 1689.

If a defendant were allowed to escape legal responsibility for his acts, merely by saying "I didn't know it was wrong/illegal", the system of using law to regulate human conduct would collapse. So the doctrine is a practical necessity.
But that's not how Bush sees it. From today's radio address, speaking in favor of the Senate's version of the FISA bill:
The Senate bill would prevent plaintiffs' attorneys from suing companies believed to have helped defend America after the 9/11 attacks. More than 40 of these lawsuits have been filed, seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from these companies. It is unfair and unjust to threaten these companies with financial ruin only because they are believed to have done the right thing and helped their country.
Further into the speech, Bush says:
When Congress reconvenes on Monday, Members of the House have a choice to make: They can empower the trial bar -- or they can empower the intelligence community. They can help class action trial lawyers sue for billions of dollars -- or they can help our intelligence officials protect millions of lives.
Bush is implying that the lawers are acting for themselves and not for any other constintuency. So why not just outlaw class action suits altogether?


Friday, February 22, 2008

How low can Taylor Marsh go?

Really low. Acting like a concern troll, her latest post: Barack Obama's Willie Horton, links Barack Obama with the domestic terrorist couple Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers. Yeah!

Some background: Dohrn and Ayers were involved in the 1969 anti-Vietnam War Days or Rage (when Obama was eight years old), and subsequent bombings in 1970. In 1981 they turned themselves in and did some jail time. In the next two decades, Dohrn became an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University, Ayers became a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois.

The connection with Obama? It began when State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of Dohrn and Ayers.

Anyway, back to Taylor Marsh. She writes:
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth won't have to make stuff up about Obama. His relationship with Ayers is a fact, as they also were both seated on a nine-member board of the Woods Fund in 1999, for three years. In lieu of that connection, even in the face of a measly $200 contribution from Ayers to Obama, as well as the Obama campaign's statement decrying Ayers' actions when he was with the terrorist group The Weather Underground, quotes like the one below from Ayers are a general election gift to your opponent, especially considering Obama has no problem sitting on a board with this thug, or taking a meeting with him when launching your political career:
Mr. Ayers wrote a memoir, "Fugitive Days," published in 2001, and on the day of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he was quoted by the New York Times as saying: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
I held out from writing about the Obama - Ayers connection in the hope that someone would finally go on the record to advance the story in a serious way. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen at this point. I simply could not get Alice Palmer or others in Illinois on the record, try as I might through many angles. ...

... think of the Obama - Ayers ad in the general election. It writes itself. The difference, however, is that Horton was a common murderer, while Ayers was a domestic terrorist who delighted in "disrupting the air war" and equated Marines with terrorists, all of which is on the record.

This is the vein in the Democratic party I will never understand, cannot accept on any level. What is it about some people who just don't get the problems with our Democratic nominee being friendly, even taking a contribution (however small), as well as having a meeting as recently as 1995 with an unrepentant domestic terrorist like William Ayers? ...

This goes well beyond the Rezko connection. In the bad judgment file, any association whatsoever with a domestic terrorist who actively tried to thwart an air war during the Vietnam war, calls our Marines "terrorists," while also being unrepentant about it, shows a lack of seriousness I will never accept.
Of note, the first entry in the usually pro-Taylor Marsh comment section is this:
Wow, Taylor, even for you this is slimy. Senator Clinton is not being served well by this sort of "support".

Oliver Willis | Homepage | 02.22.2008 - 2:46 pm
This was followed by a flame war between Willis and Marsh and her fans.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: It's not just Taylor Marsh. The Clinton campaign is also promoting this story. From ABC news:
The Hillary Clinton campaign pushed to reporters today stories about Barack Obama and his ties to former members of a radical domestic terrorist group -- but did not note that as president, Clinton's husband pardoned more than a dozen convicted violent radicals, including a member of the same group mentioned in the Obama stories.

"Wonder what the Republicans will do with this issue," mused Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in one e-mail to the media, containing a New York Sun article reporting a $200 contribution from William Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground, to Obama in 2001. (Obama's ties to the radical group first surfaced last week in a Bloomberg News article.)

In a separate e-mail, Singer forwarded an article from reporting on a 1995 event at a private home that brought Obama together with Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, another former member of the radical group.
UPDATE 2: It's a coordinated attack. Phil Singer is not a loose cannon. From's blog, this screenshot of a posting by Howard Wolfson, Communications Director (!)
The story linked to is titled:
Obama once visited '60s radicals
Wolfson referred to the story as:
Obama once visited '60s ‘terrorists’
And there's this Kos diary on the issue.

UPDATE 3: TNR reviews the issue. Also, a random blog. And another Kos diary. Over at MyDD, a comment that has a Washington Post 'fact check' on the issue. And the right-wing is now on the case. It's mentioned at the Liberal Fascism blog. But John Podhoretz defends Obama:
Barack Obama is in no way responsible for anything William Ayers might have said or done, and anyone who suggests otherwise is guilty of demagougery.
Newshoggers has a post that shows Hillary Clinton's connections to a former IRA terrorist. Expect this Obama-'terrorist' story to have legs.


Hillary Clinton: With Michigan and Florida, I have a fighting chance:

From an interview with the Texas Monthly:
I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that. I think it’s important for the DNC to ask itself, Is this really in the best interest of our eventual nominee? We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are.
Interesting remark about Texas usually not in the electoral calculation. In any event, the current totals for the candidates (including superdelegates) is: Obama 1319, Clinton 1250.

Florida + Michigan would bring: Obama 71, Clinton 192, Uncommitted 63.

Add those to the totals and you get: Obama 1390, Clinton 1442, Uncommitted 63.

But the Uncommitted are likely to be for Obama, so put them in his column and you get: Obama 1453, Clinton 1442.

If, and it's a big if, Obama and Clinton split Texas, and Clinton does well in Ohio, you're looking at a close situation, should Clinton get Florida and Michigan into the tally.

ALSO: Upon reflection, it seems that Clinton should have fought hard in Maine. That would have broken up the 11 wins-in-a-row for Obama. Of all the states between Super Tuesday (Feb 5) and March 4, Maine looked best for Hillary. Why didn't they put more of an effort in there?


Superb Spanish-language video for Obama:

Via Matt Yglesias. Of interest are the fleeting images of people at work (auto shop, hair salon, restaurant kitchen, gardening) or in their neighborhood (laundromat). Two minutes long. Extremely well crafted.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eric Alterman on the McCain/NYTimes story:
If John McCain and Vicki Iseman were having sex, I say "bully for them." If more consenting adults would have more sex, the world would be a better place. But it's none of our business and does not belong on the front page of The New York Times, regardless of timing. What's more, the sex gets in the way of what is really important about McCain's behavior and why, in so many ways, the man is a complete fraud, however much the MSM may love every last wrinkle on his impressively active seven-decade-old body.


The John McCain sex story:

Sure, it took place a while ago (allegedly) but doesn't it work to his advantage in that it counters the "old man" label he's been tagged with? Also, it diverts attention away from some unpopular policy positions, making McCain's "character" the focus of the debate (where he usually comes out on top, no matter what. E.g. Kristof).


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ezra Klein has some critical remarks about this site from the Hillary Clinton campaign that argues for superdelegate independence and for seating Florida and Michigan delegates.

Of interest, is the fact that the domain was registered on 14 February, less than a week ago.


Fair Play for Cuba:

Now's the time for it, given that Fidel Castro is stepping down.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama caught using somebody else's words:

He can't deny it. Outrageous.


Calling it:

This blog has been reluctant to declare a winner in the Hillary Clinton - Barack Obama race for the nomination. While Obama seemed to have the advantage in recent days, it was premature to count Clinton out. Until now. It's not just the Wisconsin results, but also the general atmospherics along with the tightening of the polls nationwide and in Texas.

Barring some major screw-up, Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president this fall.


If they don't care enough to protect them, why should you care if they are stolen?

It's often frustrating to read about art thefts because it involves items of cultural significance. So we all tend to lose out when a famous painting is stolen and there is the inclination to be angry at the robbers.

But very often it is the museums that do a piss-poor job of securing their art. Consider this story from Switzerland: (excerpts, emp add)
At Zurich Museum, a Theft of 4 Masterworks

ZURICH — Three men wearing ski masks walked into a private museum here in daylight, grabbed four 19th-century masterpieces, tossed them into a van and sped off, pulling off one of the largest and most audacious art robberies of all time. It was the second multimillion-dollar art heist in Switzerland in less than a week.

Switzerland was stunned, not just by the loss of half a dozen masterpieces by the likes of Picasso and Monet but, based on police reports emerging Monday, by the seeming ease with which they disappeared.

On Sunday, the three men who entered the E. G. Bührle Collection here took four paintings — a Cézanne, a Degas, a van Gogh and a Monet together worth an estimated $163 million — but not the most valuable works in the collection. The four just happened to be hanging in the same room.

The Wednesday before, in a nighttime theft in the nearby town of Pfäffikon, thieves stole two Picassos worth an estimated $4.4 million.

According to the local police and officials at the Bührle Collection, one of the top private museums for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in Europe, three men wearing ski masks entered the museum barely a half hour before the 5 p.m. closing time on Sunday.

One of the thieves pulled a handgun and ordered terrified staff members and visitors to lie down on the floor, as the other two men pulled the paintings off the wall. The police said paintings appeared to be sticking out of the back of the white van the men used to make their getaway.

The museum’s director, Lukas Gloor, said the museum generally did not check visitors’ bags and had no metal detectors, which he said the entry hall of the building was too narrow to accommodate. The collection is housed in a 19th-century villa in a quiet residential neighborhood, where state-of-the art offices border on ancient villas with large private parks.

“It is a very bad experience because as museum director you live with these pictures day in day out; you become attached to them like family,” he said at a news conference.
Sorry, Mr. Gloor, but you had two or three hundred million dollars worth of art in there, so where was the decent security? There was none (an alarm went off, but that's inadequate). Where are the cameras to identify the van or its plates? Where is the dual-site placement of museum staff so that not everybody is immobilized at once? Why was the art so easy to remove from the walls? And so on. Digital cameras and computers are cheap, so there's no excuse for not monitoring every display room and having the activity reviewed at a remote location. And how about those two Picassos taken a week before?

This theft is a big one, and it also reminds one of when "The Scream" was stolen in Norway:
On February 12, 1994, the same day as the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, four men broke into the National Gallery and stole its version of Scream, leaving a note reading "Thanks for the poor security".
Not every theft can be prevented, but there are too many instances where the curators are way behind the curve in matters of security.


Scrappy fighters:

Put aside any feelings, pro or con, about Hillary Clinton's campaign for the nomination. In terms of pure politics it's fascinating to see how she's trying to use all sorts of ways to affect the spin and the delegate process. Here is a partial list:
  • Using the ex-president in an attack-dog mode. Bill saying that
    • Obama is a lightweight.
    • The non-poor (whoever that is) don't "need" a president and so they can indulge in gravitating around a charismatic Obama (and conversely, if you "need" a president, then Hillary is the one).
    • Obama's win in South Carolina was a 21st century version of Jesse Jackson's wins.
  • The last minute challenge to the Nevada caucus rules (a challenge explicitly supported by Bill) after an unfavorable union endorsement of Obama.
  • Claims by Clinton campaign staff that various demographic groups supporting Obama mean that his political strength is overrated (either within the Democratic party or at the national level).
  • Saying that Obama's win in several states (red or small) shouldn't impress anyone since those states will go Republican in the fall or not amount to many Electoral College votes.
  • Dismissing losses in caucus states by saying that the process involves demographics (activists, slightly better educated, non poor) that's not purely representative.
  • Failure to remove Clinton's name from the Michigan primary ballot while Obama and Edwards had. (And don't be fooled into thinking it was a mere "oversight" the paperwork wasn't done.)
  • Currying favor (or at least not offending) Iowa and New Hampshire by agreeing with the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan and then saying afterwards that those primaries should count.
  • The pitch to get superdelegates (which were designed for the most part to deal with a 3-or-more contest where no single candidate has a majority) and asserting that in some way they are better representatives of the Democratic party.
  • The latest move to switch pledged Obama delegates to support Clinton at the convention.
Will it work? Probably not, but it's a good example of going all out to win.


The real reason:

The Booman looks at a story where the Clinton forces are talking about 'turning' pledged Obama delegates so that Hillary would have a fat margin of victory at the convention. Then he wonders why this is being pursued, and thinks out loud: (excerpts, emp add)
[First quoting from politico]
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.
This stuff is just silly. It's never going to succeed, and even trying would destroy the Clintons' reputation, in both the party and the nation, irreparably. So, why are they pushing these types of stories in the press now?

One theory is that they need to provide some kind of rationale (a path to victory) to their financial contributors, no matter how implausible. Another theory is that is makes her look tough and willing to fight, and they hope that contrasts nicely with Obama's (seemingly) more laid back attitude. One way to raise doubt about Obama is to play to fears that he isn't tough enough to stand up to Republican assaults. Maybe stories like this are intended to feed that suspicion. I can't really think of any other theories.
The simplest answer is this:
This is Hillary Clinton's only chance for the presidency.
Being an also-ran for president when the Democrats lose still gives an opportunity to run again, and maybe secure the nomination, in four years. But that's not how the calendar works if Obama wins the nomination and likely general election. Then one of two things happen. President Obama has a bad term of office, but that's likely to mean a Republican winning in 2012. Or Obama does okay and wins a second term. But that's eight years and by that time all sorts of new faces will have emerged, making it very difficult for Hillary to make a run in 2016.

That's why the Clinton forces are going all out to get the nomination this year, even if it means trying to convince superdelegates and Obama delegates (!) to vote for Hillary at the convention this summer.

CODA: It would seem that as long as Hillary Clinton has a chance for the nomination (and presidency) people are holding their tongue because they don't want to incur the wrath of a powerful Democrat. But if Clinton stumbles in the next couple of months, to the point where Obama has secured the nomination, look for an unleashed verbal fury towards her, Bill, her campaign crew, and many of her most outspoken defenders.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Plagarizing politicians:

The issue du jour is, which Democrat is using someone else's words? Attention has focused on Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton is also under review. This issue parallels Joe Biden getting caught in 1988 using a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party.

With that in mind, here's an excerpt from the 25 April 1988 (p 63) New Yorker interview with Barry Goldwater: (emphasis in the original)
[About his acceptance speech in 1964]

...Goldwater told the listening millions:

"Those who do not care for our cause we do not expect to enter our ranks in any case. And let our Republicanism, so focused and dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels. I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Well, the Cow Palace came down. The dreaded buzzword "extremism" had been using approvingly ...

[Goldwater:] "I'm almost certain that that 'extremism' line came from Cicero. When I see Senator Joe Biden next, I'm going to tell him, 'Joe, if you want to take from somebody' speech, do like I did - go way back.'"


This is it, folks:

Political junkies, take heed. The next 2 weeks will be the most interesting to watch. For the Democrats, that is. As the outcome of the race hinges on whatever happens in the primaries, we are already starting to hear noises about how important (or not) various states should be, what a superdelegate should do, how to handle Florida and Michigan, and the likely outcome of a Howard Dean / James Carville cage match. Most of this spin is coming from the Clinton camp, but that's not particularly important. In terms of pure politics, the expectations game, the argument over who is a better general election candidate, and back-and-forth attacks, this is the prime season.

So enjoy it while it lasts.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

The president's Saturday radio address:

Nobody in the blogosphere is commenting on it. Why?

Here are some key points Bush is making: (emp add)
At the stroke of midnight tonight, a vital intelligence law that is helping protect our nation will expire. Congress had the power to prevent this from happening, but chose not to.
By failing to act, Congress has created a question about whether private sector companies who assist in our efforts to defend you from the terrorists could be sued for doing the right thing.
I made every effort to work with the House to secure passage of this law. I even offered to delay my trip to Africa if we could come together and enact a good bill. But House leaders refused to let the bill come to a vote. Instead, the House held partisan votes that do nothing to keep our country safer. House leaders chose politics over protecting the country -- and our country is at greater risk as a result.
At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning a new attack on America. And Congress has no higher responsibility than ensuring we have the tools to stop them.


Friday, February 15, 2008

The TM Experience:

Which refers to ultra-Clinton-supporter Taylor Marsh. It's a (center-left) blog dedicated to monitoring visitor comments found at her blog. The posters are even more pro-Hillary. Fascinating to read in light of the campaign travails of Clinton (and Bill).


A possible solution to the delegate problem:

While I'd prefer to see the rules enforced (which would mean not considering Michigan and Florida), that's probably too strict for politics.

Michigan and Florida want to be counted and Clinton is arguing for that, and we keep reading that eventually Howard Dean will seat them, somehow. But that would outrage Obama supporters and lead to division within the party.

One possible solution would be along these lines:
  • Seat the Florida delegates, since that was primary where everyone was on the ballot.
  • Seat only the Uncommitted delegates from Michigan.
In terms of delegates, the allocation based on the elections already held is (or would be):
Florida (210): Hillary (106)   Obama (71)   Edwards (31)   Kucinich (2)
Michigan (156): Uncommitted (63)   Not seated: Hillary (86)   Kucinich (6)   Dodd (1)
The advantages to this scheme are:
  • Neither Florida or Michigan are ignored at the Democratic Convention. (Although Michigan has 63 instead of 156, kind of like the half-delegates penalty the Republicans use.)

  • The Clinton, Kucinich, and Dodd campaigns are punished for not removing their names from the Michigan ballot. Punish the candidates, not the entire state.

  • The 63 Uncommitted from Michigan will be strongly inclined to support Obama. Say he gets 75% of them. That would result in a Michigan+Florida delegate count of: Hillary (106+15 = 121)   Obama (71+48 = 119). The near-identical delegate totals means that adding Florida and only Michigan's Uncommitted allows both states "to count", aligns nicely with the near-even national delegate numbers, and isn't favorable to either candidate.
What do you think?


Not enough fear. We need more.

And Bush delivers!
The [eavesdropping law] is essential, Mr. Bush said, because terrorists are planning attacks on American soil “that will make Sept. 11 pale in comparison.”
What would that be, something like 30,000 deaths?

Also, where is Bin Laden these days, and why hasn't Bush captured him?


Strong words from the New York Times "The Editorial Board":
Three cheers for the House of Representatives — and for the Democratic leadership.
First, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, did exactly the right thing when she decided to let the House go on a weeklong break without voting on an awful bill sent over from the Senate that would expand the president’s ability to spy on Americans without bothering to get a warrant. It would also help the White House cover up President Bush’s unlawful spying program after 9/11 by giving blanket immunity to any company that turned over data on Americans’ telephone calls and emails without a court order.
Second, the House voted, 223-32, to hold Joshua Bolten, the presidential chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, in contempt for thumbing their noses at congressional subpoenas. (The Republicans embarassed themselves, their constituents and their country by staging a walkout when the vote was called. On a straighforward measure that pitted the rule of law and the balance of powers against blind partisan loyalty, these members put themselves on the side of partisanship.)
Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers made baseless claims of executive privilege — and then simply ignored the subpoenas.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, got it right: if it failed to enforce these subpoenas, the House would “be giving its tacit consent to the dangerous idea of an imperial presidency, above the law and beyond the reach of checks and balances.”

There’s still a lot more to be done. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who is looking more and more like a White House puppet, has strongly suggested he will not go to court to enforce congressional contempt citations. If he refuses to stand up for the rule of law, Congress should go to court itself.


Conflicting views:

If you look at the New York Times editoral page today, you'll see this:

In the upper left:
And in the lower right:


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't blame McCain:

Andrew Sullivan (et al) are disappointed that John McCain voted against a bill that would have banned the CIA from using torture. But remember, the Republican party favors the use of torture, and McCain wants to strenghen his cred within the party. It's that simple.


2025 or ... ?

Chris Bowers answers a question many have wondered about. How many delegates make a majority for the Democrats?   (emp add)
2,025 Does Not Include Michigan Or Florida

... 2,025 is the magic number without Michigan and Florida receiving any delegates. If a campaign is consistently pushing for Florida and Michigan to count, then perhaps they should start using the magic number with both Michigan and Florida included: 2,208.
Expect to hear more about this later.


Bad timing:

Houston sex-toy sellers hail federal court's ruling
35-year-old Texas law that banned the items overturned by appeals court

Houston's adult bookstore backers Wednesday hailed a federal court's decision to overturn a 35-year-old state law that banned promotion or sale of sex toys. But the decision won't go into effect until the court issues its mandate in early March — long after the industry's lucrative pre-Valentine's Day season.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law violates the privacy protections of the 14th Amendment.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clinton will fight this every inch of the way, all the way to the end:

From Clinton supporter Taylor Marsh:
... the Clinton campaign is redoubling their efforts, including hiring staff in Wyoming, Kentucky and all the states going forward in the primaries, including in Puerto Rico, whose caucus happens in June.
Delegate-rich Wyoming! Puerto Rico caucuses in June!

Some of the comments in the Taylor Marsh post are remarkable. Here's one: (emp add)
By the way yesterday on [another blog, a poster] said that he has no doubt that Puerto Rico will go to Hillary. He said the party elders there control the vote and they love the Clintons!

Again, good friends not turning on them unlike others!

Thank you Puerto Rico!

Tim | 02.13.2008 - 1:56 pm



Yesterday, Hillary Clinton had this to say about herself:
"I'm tested. I'm ready. Let's make it happen."
Wasn't there someone in the past well known for being "Tanned, rested, and ready"?


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shorter Scalia:

The Eighth Amendment doesn't prohibit cruel and unusual interrogation.


About Sunday's New York Times op-ed on the economy:

Did you read that op-ed, You Are What You Spend, that claimed there wasn't a whole lot of difference between the rich and poor?

If you felt there was something "off" about it, that the data of quintile-by-quintile averages were misleading, you should go to The Big Picture and read the post, Hackonomics.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Tuesday sweep: has some numbers for Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

Wow. Obama has something like 55% to Clinton's 35%. These are substantial leads, almost 2-to-1, and even though everybody talks about Ohio and Texas, Obama has been racking up these margins everywhere in the country (Washington, midwest Nebraska, down to Louisana, north to Maine). Who is to say Ohio and Texas will be different?


Cult of Personality debate:

Paul Krugman writes:
The bitterness of the fight for the Democratic nomination is, on the face of it, bizarre.

... most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.
That's certainly not my impression. If anything, I've read more venemous posts and comments from Hillary Clinton supporters (and that's from die-hard Hillary supporters like Taylor Marsh). And Hilzoy concurs:
I have no doubt that most of the venom that Krugman sees comes from Obama supporters.
The blogosphere is not particularly representative, but it's probably a lot more representative than Krugman's mail. For what it's worth, I don't see a lot of venom among pro-Obama bloggers either. I mean, does anyone think that Matt Yglesias is venomous, or consumed by hatred of all things Hillary? I don't. What about Mark Kleiman? Or Anonymous Liberal? Or, well, publius and me? We've all been supporters of Obama for a while, and I don't think any of us is particularly full of hate and bitterness. For that matter, none of us strike me as lending much support to another of Krugman's claims: that "the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality."

[I wouldn't include Mark Kleiman in that list. He may not be bitter, but he's pretty relentless.]
There's not much venom out there, but the reason for the strong feelings is that this is a Democratic year. The outcome is pretty much guaranteed, so the Democratic nomination (much like Democratic primaries in the South in the 1950's) is the election.

Over at The Agonist, there is an anti-Hillary post on this issue (which is not in love with Obama, either) that says there have been, and are, cults of personality all over the place. But there is this one interesting aspect:
Clinton's cult of personality is both on the wane, and never touched the internet in any meaningful way. Her Royal Clintoness was the creature of old politics. She never bothered to create an online presence, even though she hired some of the best internet minds out there.
The outrage is that Obama's cult represents to people the end of the Clintonian era in the party, when it seemed over and over again that initiatives were stopped because the Clintons decided how they would be triangulated into place to support Bill Clinton. This is not an empty view: Clinton made little effort to win back Congress. He made little effort to win over state houses and governorships. Under his Presidency, the rest of the Democratic Party was under pressure from one side of the country to the other. Reliably Democratic states, such as Massachusetts and New York, stayed under Republican Governors.
However this turns out, a victory for Clinton or a victory for Obama, there will be hurt feelings. You can see it at the rallies. Look at the faces of the young women for Hillary, for instance. For them, it's more than choosing a politican because of policy positions. There is a lot of identification going on, and while it is a big motivator, it can also create problems when there is a competing figure to deal with.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

This is a news photo, not a scene from a movie:

It looks surreal.


UPDATE: Apparently it was arson.


One of the Most Viewed news photos at Yahoo:

From the AP:

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.,
wipes her eye as she listens to a disabled U.S. veteran in the audience
tell his story during a campaign stop at The City of Lewiston Memorial
Armory in Lewiston, Maine., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
UPDATE: Joe Gandelman detects a pattern.


Watch this number:

Everybody is discussing the fact that the Democratic nominee needs 2025 delegates to win. But that's the majority of all delegates. What's interesting is who gets the majority of the 3,253 pledged delegates, which is 1627. On that score, the latest is:
  • Clinton: 877
  • Obama: 908


The answer:

Kevin Drum wonders why Obama does so well in state caucuses. But it's been established already that Clinton voters are "low information" by inclination, or for socio-economic reasons. So you'd expect them to have a smaller presence at a caucus.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Global warming was being discussed exactly 50 years ago:

Cogitamus has a short clip of the Frank-Capra-produced 1958 television program, The Unchained Goddess.


Bob Herbert asks:
The essential question the candidates should be trying to answer — but that is not even being asked very often — is how to create good jobs in the 21st century. Thirty-seven million Americans are poor, and roughly 60 million others are near-poor. (These are people struggling to make it on incomes of $20,000 to $40,000 a year for a family of four.)

The middle class is hardly flourishing. In testimony before a House subcommittee last year, Harley Shaiken, a Berkeley professor who is an expert on labor and employment, remarked: “During a period of robust economic growth, record profits and the fastest sustained productivity increases since the 1950s, only a thin slice at the top of the economic heap is enjoying higher living standards.”
The growth is there. The profits are there. The productivity gains are there. But the ability of workers to get a piece of that has been limited for 25 years.

One approach would be to give labor a stronger position so that it can get more of the productivity gains. To do that, make it easier to unions to form and bargain for those increased profits, and shut out wage-depressing globalization via tariffs.

If labor was so empowered, we would see cost-push inflation, but that may be a necessary byproduct of a new dynamic.


Friday, February 08, 2008

What is it with these idiots?

We read:
MSNBC's David Shuster [said] that the Clinton campaign is "pimping out" Chelsea Clinton.
Really. How could a reporter use that kind of language? It's clearly off-limits. On the other hand, Shuster did time at Fox, so maybe that affected him.

What's next from this guy? Reports that Obama is "pimping out" his wife?


Hillary Clinton: I'm only acting in the best interests of the voters, so join me

Statement from Clinton about the Michigan and Florida delegates: (emp add)
"I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

"I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

"I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.
About debating in Maine: (emp add)
“With both of us in the state – I would like to invite him to join me for a joint town hall Saturday morning in Orono, ME, so that the people of Maine have a clear idea of the differences between us."

"It’s time for the people of this country and the caucus goers of Maine to pick a President,"

"I hope Senator Obama will accept my invitation to help them do just that.”
Those remarks are, pardon the comparison, similar to the manipulative language that Peggy Noonan uses. It's all extremely polite, but with easy to miss (at first) assumptions about what's going on. "Won't you please join me, now that I've proposed something that will help me defeat you?"

Hillary is attempting to make it look as if seating delegates from Michigan, or holding a town hall meeting in Maine (the morning of three state caucuses!), is for the benefits of the voters. And that such high-minded proposals should be supported by her opponents.

Actually, it's probably not Hillary doing this, but someone high in the campaign. The language is a melange of finishing school manners + press release objective. The request to "join me" in something that is clearly advantageous to Hillary is audacious.

Regarding Maine. While polling is unclear, it appears Hillary has a substantial advantage. So what better way to show that's she's better than Obama on the issues than having a debate (of sorts), followed by an electoral victory? As if Maine was an impartial adjudicator. Oh, and Bill Clinton is in Maine now, so that's another distraction from Obama's message. And the town hall that Obama is invited to (with less than 48 hours notice) is an already-set event for Hillary, so the folks who will be there will be overwhelmingly pro-Hillary.

And there's more. If you want more debates, the Hillary campaign is on your side. From David Plouffe, Clinton Campaign Manager: (emp add)
I was disappointed to see that Senator Obama rejected the idea of having more debates given the fact that he and Senators Clinton have had only a single one-on-one debate. I think we can do better and so does Hillary.

Senator Clinton believes voters should have more than one opportunity to see the candidates discuss the issues and has accepted five debates between now and March 4th from CNN, MSNBC, WJLA, ABC and Fox News.
Fox News!

The Clinton campaign should simply go for broke. Request - only in the best interests of the voters, of course - a total of 473 debates between now and the August 25 convention in Denver. (That would work out to one debate every ten hours.)

While the Hillary campaign is making all the right moves (in a purely rational-tactical sense) it doesn't appear that they are particularly strong. It's like a chess game where one side has lost the queen and is furiously moving pawns and knights all over the board to catch any advantage, in the faint hope the opponent will make a blunder.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's so obvious:

That Limbaugh's attacks on McCain make it more likely that Hillary would be elected (presuming she's nominated). Limbaugh thrives on hate, and what better hate-figure than Hillary?

And that goes for some other right-wing radio hosts as well.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hugh Hewitt's latest pitch:

Mitt Romney would be the best running mate for McCain. Mitt has money. Mitt can talk about the economy.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vocabulary fun:

Commenting on Tuesday's primary (and worth reading), Dick Polman writes:
Missouri. Another state with strong symbolic value for the Democratic candidates. The state borders Arkansas, where Hillary once reigned as First Lady; on the Democratic side, it also has a mix of black voters (in the cities and suburban St. Louis County) and rural white conservative voters. The polls are virtually even. Whoever wins this high-turnout affair will probably spin the victory as a statement of autumn electability, because Missouri is one of our most durable bellwethers. In the last 104 years, it has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election, with the sole exception of 1956.
"Missouri is one of our most durable bellwethers"

bellwether     Where did that word come from? The definition at
1. a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell.

2. a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry: Paris is a bellwether of the fashion industry.

3. a person or thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.

4. a person who leads a mob, mutiny, conspiracy, or the like; ringleader.
wether     It means:
1. a castrated male sheep.

2. Also called wether wool. wool from previously shorn sheep.
So "bellwether" originally was a castrated male sheep that leads the flock.


The California primary:

Something of a surprise. Polls indicated a close race, but with a substantial number of returns (16%), it's Hillary Clinton with 55% and Barack Obama with 33%. That's not good for Obama. Not just the delegate count, but what it says about his general appeal (esp to Hispanics).

55 + 33 = 88. Who is getting the other twelve percent? Edwards, but that's a totally wasted vote.


Stock market decline due to incorrect understanding?

Stocks drop (AP): (emp add)
Stocks slumped for a second straight session Tuesday after Wall Street saw an unexpected contraction in the service sector as evidence that the economy is sinking into recession. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 350 points, while bond prices rose.

The Institute for Supply Management said its January index of the service sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy, dropped below 50, indicating contraction. Economists had been expecting another month of growth; the last time the service sector contracted was in March 2003.
Story about the service sector index (AP): (emp add)
The Institute for Supply Management reported that its index of service sector business activity declined to 44.6 in January from a revised reading of 54.4 in December. Economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR had expected a slight slowdown but had still forecast growth, with a median estimate for the index of 53.
Felix Salmon ( (emp add)
[look at] what everybody considers to be the cause of the drop: an index measuring service-industry executives' business activity dropped to 44.6 in January from 54.4 in December. But here's the thing: it's a brand-new index, called the NMI, which the stock market is (purportedly) reacting to. Yes, the NMI was at 44.6 in January, but there's no NMI figure for December. The 54.4 figure was in the business activity index, which fell to 41.9 in January, but that's a narrower and more volatile measure.
Yes, the index number is below 50, but the comparison of a new index number with that of a different index in December is misleading.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Bill Kristol's impressive record of being wrong:

Gets another data point. From his NYTimes op-ed a week ago:
The Giants probably won’t beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
USA Today "Ad Meter" rankings. Coke ad came in seventh. Apparently, lowbrow tastes prevailed.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Best Super Bowl ad:

For those who care, it was the 60-second mini-symphony with Macy's floats for Coke, titled Parade Balloons. (Music: Barber of Seville overture; Agency: Wieden & Kennedy)

Advertising Age has a run down of them here.

(Other refs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Clash of the Titans:

In Los Angeles this Sunday morning: (CNN)
In the run-up to Super Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton is planning a tour of African-American churches this Sunday in Los Angeles. A prominent elected official who will be joining him has described it as Clinton’s 'mea culpa tour' to the black community.
The politicians joining the former president on Sunday expect to visit a number of black churches in South Central Los Angeles, with additional stops possible in Inglewood and West Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles this Sunday morning: (
Get Out the Vote Rally in Los Angeles

Michelle Obama, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, and Caroline Kennedy will hold a Get Out The Vote Rally this Sunday in Los Angeles. The rally will be free and open to the public.

Sunday, February 3
Pauley Pavilion
301 Westwood Plaza
Doors Open: 11:30 a.m.
(UCLA is close to West Los Angeles)

Is it Bill's intention to "counter-program" the Obama event? It sure looks like it.


Sunday shows: Clinton and McCain have the edge.NBC's Meet the Press has the best show. No politicians, but the smartest and most compelling pundits in the nation. Democrats Bob Shrum & James Carville and Republicans Mary Matalin & Mike Murphy.
You can never get too much Shrum. And kudos to Tim for booking the cute couple of Carville and Matalin.


Friday, February 01, 2008

All you need to know:

At Huffington Post:
Microsoft's Brilliant Bid for Yahoo!
Henry Blodget


Headed to 2%

Last year, on December 3, this blog said we were going to see a 2% Federal Funds Rate. And we're moving quickly to that point. Get this, after a 1.25% drop in eight days, and before the latest dismal employment figures, here are the Fed Funds Probabilities for the March meeting, as of the end of January:

2.5% is in the lead, with a near-50% estimated probability.