NSFW Warning for language, Fry and Laurie imagine if Rupert had never been born. h/t commenter Mugsy; open thread below....
At the Washington Post, Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture and politically agnostic author of Bailout Nation writes, Wall Street analysts and economists have this recession recovery wrong:
?Not only are credit crises different from other cycles, they also differ from other bubbles.
As Dan Gross explained in ?Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy,? the typical investing bubble leaves behind something of value. Whether it was thousands of miles of railroad tracks in the 19th century or thousands of miles of fiber-optic cables in the 1990s, usable infrastructure survives the bubble. Assets get scooped up out of bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar. Eventually, all of this overinvestment in the bubble du jour becomes a productive part of the economy. All that cable laid by Global Crossing and Metromedia Fiber and other bankrupt firms? Today, it is the bandwidth infrastructure that supports Google Maps, Netflix streaming video and Twitter.Barry RitholtzCompare that with what gets left behind after a credit bubble bursts: No physical infrastructure, innovations or research breakthroughs; just soul-crushing, economy-sapping debt. And not just regular old balance-sheet obligations, but huge piles of counterproductive consumer and government liabilities.
Credit bubbles produce the exact opposite of productive resources. Deleveragers ? those folks formerly known as consumers ? spend the next decade paying down these obligations, rather than buying additional goods and services. And heavily indebted state and local governments are similarly thrifty, adding further pressure to the post-crisis economy.
Confusion about this is already taking a toll across the pond. The Irish, British and, soon, Greeks have bought into a misguided belief in austerity ? that they can somehow cut their way to growth. In the United States, we have seen states and municipalities slashing head counts of teachers, cops and firemen. The ?paradox of thrift? has morphed into a misguided economics of austerity. Hence, even when the private sector manages to create some jobs, its offset by public-sector job cuts.? ...
At Daily Kos on this date in 2010:
This week, we're tackling another common zombie lie, even echoed here at Daily Kos (no offense to the commenter; it's a common fallacy and one I've seen used many times out of genuine concern for the health of the program). The lie: The worker-to-beneficiary ratio has so drastically changed from inception that the program is doomed. Doomed, I tell you! Doomed! Why decades ago there were [fill in the blank ? 40, 25, 16 ?] workers to every beneficiary and now it's down to three workers for every beneficiary. It's unsustainable!
Except that it was ... you know ... planned exactly that way.
Now that the head of Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid and the head of his American business daily flagship have both resigned, with the titian-haired one under arrest in Britain, is it time to look at the man GHWBush calls "our man Ailes" and his[...]
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Back from the beach and...It's hot. Really hot. The kind of hot from which only Ethiopians can save me.
What are you chillin' with tonight?
One of the more constant critiques of this Presidency is that Barack Obama has failed to teach a generation of willing listeners a story about his beliefs and his values, something that will outlast his term in office and provide a blueprint for the[...]
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I watched the women's World Cup soccer final today along with millions of other folks. As someone who considers himself somewhat of an aficionado of the "beautiful game", let me say for the record that those ladies can play.
Congrats to Japan on their stunning upset of the Americans. Their country has had a rough year and the poor folks needed a lift.
Still, I feel bad for the American goalie, Hope Solo. Girlfriend is a little field Negroish, (I know that's not a word, so spare me your e-mails) so I was hoping for the best for her.
Oh well ladies, better luck next time. We will see you again in four years.
Finally, I saw the following article over at The Fresh Express, and I wanted to get some of your opinions about it: (Especially the ladies.)
"Ok so as I was watching my girl Judy on TV the other day, you all may know her as Judge Judy, yeah her, she was dealing with a baby mama drama case where the girl wanted some money from her baby daddy. The girl was telling her side of the story and in the beginning said that she and her baby?s father had broken up and she put him out due to ?marijuana usage?.
So later in the girl?s story she said that after they reconciled the guy cheated on her and I thank God that my girl Judy cut her up for that. She told her that that was a lie basically because for one, she kicked him out; secondly, they were not married, so there?s no way ?cheating? took place.
What I?m getting to here is, what the hell is a boyfriend?! I know previously as a culture we decided that by like mid-20s that word should be abolished but I?m proposing it be abolished after high school. Please tell me what a boyfriend/girlfriend is and how it fits into your journey to become a man/woman because I don?t see it. I stopped believing in that boyfriend-girlfriend thing right after high school.
Boyfriend/girlfriend is a title. That?s it. In no way, shape, or form does it signify commitment. Y?all can keep getting tricked into being ?wifey? or his ?girlfriend? forever if y?all want to, but I?m taking a different route. We all know one too many ?girlfriends? that wouldn?t be so self-righteous if they knew what their ?boyfriends? were really up to.
The way I see it, getting a guy to commit to this title first does not, nor has it ever guaranteed that you will see a ring, so why commit yourself to someone that?s not going to be around ?till death do you part?
Ain?t gone happen over here.
One day I was just thinking and was like, ?Ok so I want a guy to kick it with all the time and maybe do a little bump and grind,? but then I was like, ?I?m a busy girl. I don?t have time to maintain a real relationship right now,? and then I was like, ?and even if I do get me a man, I?m not trying to be his girlfriend forever and ever, we?ll eventually have to break-up if he doesn?t propose around the time I?m ready to settle down or he?ll cheat or we?ll grow apart.?
Then it hit me, why should I even have to go through that for a maybe? This ain?t spades and I ain?t putting no money on no possibles.
To me, commitment is a guy going out and getting a ring, asking my friends if they like it, discussing it with his boys and our families, then nervously getting down on one knee in a super cute setting that he planned out on his own.
Anything other than that is redundant. Why should I ever be stressed about a relationship that isn?t recognized by anybody?s God, nor does it affect my taxes? I shouldn?t. Nobody should.
Now don?t get me wrong, I understand that you can?t control when you fall in love and I?m not suggesting that you postpone the feelings until marriage and I?m definitely not saying that slutting until then is acceptable but chill out.
What is the point in fully committing to someone you may or may not spend your life with? You can figure out if you want to marry that person without a title. As a matter of fact, that?s a better way to do it because there?s no reason to lie to each other about anything if you don?t ?go together.?' [Full story]
I guess I want your opinions, because, now that I think about it, I really don't understand what girlfriend is trying to say.
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Sen. Lindsey Graham took a lot of heat from the Tea Party movement so he's been trying to curry their favor ever since. He used to be considered part of John McCain's "Maverick posse", but since McCain denied that he ever was a maverick so he could bow down to the crazed right, it makes him look ridiculous. On the debt ceiling debate, Graham had an interesting conversation with Candy Crowley, who clearly is in a Grand Bargain kinda mood. Goober Graham is parroting the new Republican talking point of "Cut, Cap and Balance" (also known as the Ryan Plan 2.0) and had the audacity to compare us to Greece. Wow, is there any fear-mongering in those words?
Appearing on CNN?s ?State of the Union" Sunday, Graham said that Republicans would raise the debt ceiling only in exchange for the requirements in the ?Cut, Cap and Balance? legislation the House is expected to vote this week. That bill would cut government spending to 2008 levels, cap sending for the next decade and require the passage of a balanced budget constitutional amendment.
?For those three things, we?ll raise the debt limit,? Graham said. ?That will be the Republican position in the House almost unanimously; I think it will be the Republican position in the Senate.? [..]
"What is calamitous is the path we?re on as a nation,? he said. ?We?re becoming Greece.?
"Greece" is the new fear-mongering catch phrase much like 'Saddam Hussein" was in 2002/3. The same scare tactics that lied to Americans and brought us into an unjust war with Iraq that Graham had no problems with paying for.
The Balanced Budget Amendment is a joke, as every one knows. Graham lied to Crowley when he said that since he's been in DC since 1995, it's obvious to him that both parties are incapable of balancing the budget so we need a constitutional amendment. Crowley should have then reminded the big Goober that in 2000, when he was in Congress under Bill Clinton, the US had a surplus in our federal budget and that George Bush took the cash, gave it to his pals and led us into massive debt soon afterwards. But getting back to his Greece reference, here's the Political Animal:
New rule: every time a confused Republican lawmakers compare the United States? fiscal conditions to that of Greece, an angel loses its wings.
Look, the very idea is just crazy. The U.S. has extremely low interest rates and foreign investors are happy to loan us money; Greece has extremely high interest rates and no one is eager to loan the country money. The U.S. has our own currency; Greece has the Euro. We have a great credit rating (for now); Greece as an awful credit rating. We have a manageable debt; Greece has a debt crisis. We?re a large country with an enormous economy; Greece is a small country with a small economy. We have one of the world?s most stable systems of government (at least until six months ago); Greece?s government structure is a little shaky.
For an elected American senator ? and media darling ? to tell a national television audience that the United States is ?becoming Greece? is a clear signal: Lindsey Graham is not to be taken seriously on these issues.
If Graham sincerely believes his own rhetoric, he has no idea what he?s talking about. If Graham is just playing some kind of cynical game, he?s a hack.
(2008 American National Election Study, via Alan I. Abramowitz)
Pew Research Center released a study of independent voters last may that may help refute the Washington conventional wisdom. That CW, roughly, states that independent voters are middle of the road moderates who don't support either party but swing their votes to and fro depending on what is important to them. They are fiscal conservatives who want a balanced budget. They are pragmatic centrists who want bipartisan solutions to every problem. They don't like partisan bickering or political fighting. What they want is a harmonious, fiscally prudent government that doesn't do too much or too little. Sort of a walking army of Midwestern Lutheran insurance actuaries.
The conventional wisdom on independents is, naturally, completely wrong. Independents are not a monolithic group of moderates. In fact, they are very diverse in their political opinions and there isn't a "move to the middle" formula that will win them over. Moderates, in fact, are now overwhelmingly Democrats. Independents are, for the most part, disaffected political partisans.
The American National Election Study learned that of the vast majority of independents who voted in 2008, 21 percent of independents were truly independent. The rest, all 79 percent, had a definite party preference. Their votes:
Fully 87% of them voted for the candidate of the party they leaned toward: 91% of independent Democrats voted for Barack Obama while 82% of independent Republicans voted for John McCain. That 87% rate of loyalty was identical to the 87% loyalty rate of weak party identifiers and exceeded only by the 96% loyalty rate of strong party identifiers.
These results suggest that the high level of support given by independent leaners to their own party?s presidential candidate was not due simply to a short-term preference for that candidate over his opponent but instead reflected longer-term ideological and policy preferences. Based on this evidence, independent leaners are unlikely to be ?up for grabs? in 2012. Regardless of who wins the Republican presidential nomination, we can expect the overwhelming majority of independent leaners, like the overwhelming majority of strong and weak identifiers, to remain loyal to their party because they strongly prefer their party?s policies to the opposing party?s policies.
It is highly unlikely that folks who lean toward either party, and remember the vast majority of independents lean, are going to swing their votes to and fro between the parties. What is likely, however, is that many independents may not be as motivated to vote as strong or weak partisans. To solve this problem, the parties need to motivate them to vote. Since the matrix of issues that motivate independents will more or less coincide with those issues that motivate party partisans, political strategists should do something counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom: To win independents, motivate your base.
What happened in the 2010 election wasn't so much that independents swung their votes solidly toward Republicans. The Democratic leaning independents didn't show up. There is evidence to back this up.
The 2010 midterms revealed the fragility of this electoral base. While both Solid Liberals and Hard-Pressed Democrats remained solidly behind Democratic congressional candidates in 2010, support slipped substantially among New Coalition Democrats and Post-Moderns ? not because Republicans made overwhelming gains in these groups, but because their turnout dropped so substantially. Where two-thirds of New Coalition Democrats came out to vote for Obama in 2008, just 50% came out to back Democrats in 2010. The drop-off in the Democratic vote was even more severe among Post-Moderns, 65% of whom backed Obama, but just 43% of whom came to the polls for Democrats in 2010.
Step back. Look at the big picture. We need to win independents in 2012. But don't make the mistake of believing that these are folks we need to "win back." We didn't lose them. They just didn't see anything worth making a trip to the voting both for. We need them to come back. What will motivate these guys to come back? The answers may surprise you:
- 65% of New Coalition Dems favor bigger government providing more services. Just 19% want it smaller providing less. For partisan liberals the breakdown is 74-17.
- Only 36% of New Coalition Dems say the government "cares what people like me think." 58% say it doesn't. Liberals? 36-59.
- 70% of partisan liberals say they like politicians who make compromises, but only 35% of New Coalition Dems do. 59% of New Coalition Dems say they like politicians who "stick to their positions."
- 90% of partisan liberals approve of President Obama. 83% of New Coalition Dems do. 95% of partisan liberals say he should be re-elected. 75% of New Coalition Dems agree.
President Obama has strong support across the board from Democratic groups. He won't have any problem with getting liberals to come out and vote. They did in 2008 in the same numbers in 2010. The key folks he has to get to the polls, quite frankly, are his own base. As for the independents who make up a big part of that coalition, what they want is stronger government action and a government that cares about them. Exactly the sorts of things that motivate strong Democratic liberals. These independent voters aren't political weathervanes ... blowing with the prevailing wind. They have definite positions that align very closely with those of the party base, but they want their government to deliver. You want them to come to the polls? Implement policies that rally the base.
What should those policies center around? Pew:
So, if you're sitting in the White House plotting a political strategy to get independents to the polls, would you take action on jobs, or would you take action on the deficit?
Rupert Murdoch's stranglehold on the media and politics on three continents is all but broken. Bloomberg is reporting that rumors are starting to leak that the Board of Directors is about to force him out.
Rupert Murdoch is struggling to control the destiny of the company he began building six decades ago after a trusted deputy was arrested and a top U.K. police official quit over ties to a phone-hacking suspect.
Independent directors of New York-based News Corp. (NWSA) have begun questioning the company's response to the crisis and whether a leadership change is needed, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation who wouldn't speak publicly. Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief who Murdoch backed until last week, was arrested yesterday in London.
"The shell of invulnerability that Rupert Murdoch had around him has been cracked," said James Post, a professor at Boston University's School of Management who has written about governance and business ethics. "His credibility and the company's credibility are hemorrhaging."
And it isn't like he can rush back to New York and plead his case and assure the board. His dance card is a bit crowded, what with his command performance in London before Parliament tomorrow.
On the board, venture capital executive Tom Perkins and Viet Dinh, a law professor at Georgetown University who was the chief architect of the USA Patriot Act, are leading the efforts of independent directors, according to one of the people. Dinh also represented Perkins, a former Hewlett-Packard Co. director, during a scandal at that company.
News Corp.'s independent directors, who hold nine of 16 board seats, have expressed frustration over the quality and quantity of information they've received about the scandal and concern about management's ability to handle the crisis given how slowly the company has responded, the person said.
Boy, the schadenfreude just keeps coming...Does anyone else delight in the irony that the chief architect of that Orwellian piece of crap called the PATRIOT Act is leading a coup against a CEO over hacked voicemails?
Stay tuned...Something tells me this is just getting started.
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