If you have "no place to go," come here!

I'm going to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head

Stories I saw whizzing by out of the corner of my eye while the primaries sucked all of my attention:

clear 1. If you pay the Stasi $128 and agree to have them scan your eyeballs at the airport with a laser, you can waltz past the ever-lengthening internal security lines at the airport using your "Clear" ID. (This reminds me of how, when I bought a computer at Best Buy, because they honor their warranties, they charged me $30 to make Vista current and to wipe all the marketing crap off my hard disk. So, I have to pay to put something right that should never have gone wrong in the first place. Seems like the Department of Internal Passport Controls has the same business model.)

2. Didn't the Christianist head of the EPA do something lunatic? Moreso than usual?

3. Does Mukasey really have a picture of Orwell in his office, or is that McConnell? I get my fascist normalizers mixed up.*

4. Apparently, Hilbama have been shamed into at least showing up and voting on FISA. Better late than never. Perhaps Professor Obama will share some oratory with us on the destruction of the Fourth Amendment?

5. Amy Goodman interviewed Abu Ghraib whistleblower Samuel Provance. But Provance was a network administrator there, and she never asked him about the network. (Like, the fat pipe going right to the West Wing? Think Alexander Butterfield, Amy.)

6. Has the big fan redistributed the big shitpile over the prostrate bodies of the populace yet? Or have we not yet socialized the risk? Apparently, all the banks are refusing to lend to each other, so there's no credit, which, if you think money is there to make money with, instead of, like, to buy food or medicine, creates a state of existential uncertainty and lack of animal spirits. As I understand it -- and if I understood money, I'd have some -- bank A looks deep within its balance sheet, and recoils in horror, and then refuses to lend to banks B and C because, assuming their balance sheets are like its own or worse, they'll never get their money back. It's like the Dining Philosophers problem where no philospher dares to pick the first fork. The crazy thing about this bubble (as Krugman points out somewhere) is that there was no underlying reality to it whatever. I mean, with the dot com bubble, there was at least the idea that the Internet was revolutionary, which in fact it was. So, the bubble did what bubbles do, and overshot and burst. But with housing, what was there? The idea seems to have been to: (1) lend a lot of money to people who were more unlikely to pay it back than usual, (2) sit back and watch while they spent the money on houses with styrofoam pediments or consumer goods, (3) spread the risk from the banks doing the lending to everybody by repackaging it with "innovative financial engineering," (4) collect the commissions, and (5) sleep the sleep of the righteous. Except housing's housing (as Krugman helpfully points out). The only revolutionary thing in the entire process was (3), the bullshit: spreading the risk to everybody. Which turns out in retrospect to have been about as sensible as a guy fucking anything with a hole because, statistically, that lowers the odds of catching one or another of the many vile and incurable sexual diseases. Oh well. Personally, I'd say would we ought to be going is talking these guys out onto the ledge. They should lose everything they own and suffer greatly and the lasers should cause their eyes to bubble in their sockets, except that they'll take us down along with them. We are so fucked. Is Britney out of rehab yet? Or back in? Or both?

7. A spy satellite is going to fall out of the sky and hit the earth.

8. The guys who've been running the Mars Rover for us are being fucked by the Stasi because some of them are foreigners or brown and they need more papers. Many more papers.

9. Obama saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Nominee, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:13)

10. Obama fed 5000 screaming fans from a single bag of Cheetohs.

11. Obama cured a ham.

12. McConnell now says that he wants to do what he's already been doing, which is suck down all Internet traffic and look at the content. What could go wrong? Bush signs the order, sleeps the sleep of the righteous.

13. If the terrorists fly a 747 into the Capitol Dome tonight during the SOTU, it will be the Democrats' fault for not giving retroactive immunity to the telcos.

14. Mark Crispin Miller says Ohio 2004 really was stolen and that the only true solution is paper ballots, counted by humans, because anything else can be hacked. That's what the Canadians do; why can't we? Because Canadian ballots are metric?

15. [If Edwards were getting any coverage this week, this point would be devoted to it.]

16. [If Edwards had gotten any coverage last week, this point would be devoted to it. Et cetera. You know the drill.]

17. Whatever Hillary did was wrong.

18. A judge began laughing hysterically and had to be taken away when the CIA told him that there were no torture tapes, that the only two torture tapes there were had been destroyed, that they would look for others, and that everything was done by the book in an extremely lawful manner.

19. Pakistan is totally fucked and because we let the Taliban off the hook in Afghanistan, which is also totally fucked, they've regrouped in Pakistan and are planning more attacks; all we did was cull the weak ones. Fortunately, Pakistan's nuclear weapons are in the hands of the Pakistani military. Everything's going to be fine.

20. Huckabee wants to rewrite the Constitution on Christianist principles. Press yawns. They're Clear!

NOTE * First, the Christianists fuck everything up. Then the competent ones come in, and rebuild everything from the ground up from the first principles of our new corporatist state. Since the press are all Clear, they breathe a sigh of relief, sleep the sleep of the righteous.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Tim Tagaris, late of the Dodd campaign:

Look, it's certainly great news they will be voting the right way here, but let's be honest, so is Jay Rockefeller. This isn't a tough vote. And frankly, they were gonna be back in D.C. anyway for the State of the Union. [...]

The real test of their leadership on this issue will come on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

If it was good politics to return to D.C. for the farm bill in the days before the Iowa Caucuses to please Tom Harkin, it's good politics to return to D.C. and stop the President's continued erosion of the Constitution. Unless we see an uprecedented capitulation in advance of the SOTU address, the only votes in doubt for this one will happen on Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe Thursday.

So, maybe I am expecting a bit more from our Presidential candidates, but who will return for those votes that will be close to 50/50? Who will join Chris Dodd in a filibuster? Who demonstrate the leadership necessary to bring their endorsers on board to cast a vote they wouldn't otherwise be inclined to? And who will refuse to wilt under the Republican charges that Democrats don't want to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda, and use their presidential megaphone to stand up for the Constitution?

Who indeed?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I really liked this one:

11. Obama cured a ham.

I think you're right about "bank A looks deep within its balance sheet, and recoils in horror, and then refuses to lend to banks B and C because, assuming their balance sheets are like its own or worse, they’ll never get their money back" but the credit crisis and subprime meltdown is even worse than that. There's a lot of shoes left to drop.

In 2004 I saw single 23 year old kids right out of college with two check stubs from their first real job and $40,000 in college debt getting mortgages. In some markets houses that would bring no more than $1200 a month in rent were selling for $800,000. Millions refinanced time and time again on houses they bought in 1999 for $300,000 to "cash out" $500,000 as the housing bubble expanded. Now they're stuck with the granite counter tops, whirl pool baths, and Hummers or Beamers they bought as it all sinks down to realistic value. Or maybe not.

The Bank of America chief possibly already ruing his purchase of Countrywide said he's seeing people with up-to-date payment histories on everything else walking away from their homes and mortgages trashing their own credit. One guy said the home across the street with the same floor plan was priced about $300,000 less that what he owed on his white elephant. He was considering buying it and mailing back his keys to the old place to the bank. Don't know if he could get away with it but it's an interesting idea.

Submitted by lambert on

Next bubble: Green technology. Makes sense...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.