Monday, February 23, 2009

Croak of the day

It's early, but I think we have a winner:
It’s refreshing to have someone ask about the data before they write about it.--Bill Chapman of the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center
Reported by Carl Zimmer in his Discover blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Croak of the day award

Goes to an explanation of the on-going financial disater by the extra-ordinary journalist Billmon. Even though it's 6am here, I can't imagine anyone doing anything better. The comments are worth it, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Croak of the day award

It's early, but I don't think anyone's going to top dday's:
Republicans are starting to actually be blamed for their own policy ideas

10,000 Little Hoovers

[2009.02.22 - minor grammatical error fixed] The Herbert kind, not the vacuum cleaner kind. As Krugman observes, in Fifty Herbert Hoovers, most of the state governments cannot borrow when they desperately need to. And they pass this down to all the local governments, all the authorities and cities that depend on state services. Urban areas are cutting transit. Just about every state is going to cut education. And so on. (Bet they figure out how to keep paying for prisons, bah!) And these cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish. Transit services save government and private money; without them, people will be spending money on automobiles, and states and cities on roads. Education is more of a long-term investment, but it's important one, and cutting it will prolong the depression.

This sucks. Hmmm, maybe they're the other kind of Hoovers after all.


Croak of the day award

Once again to The Shrill One:
things are so bad that the summarized musings of central bankers can keep you up at night--Krugman

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is what they think they want

Two months ago, I linked to an article about the on-going fiscal train-wreck in California. A deal has finally been struck and it is truly awful, even from an honest conservative viewpoint--penny wise and pound foolish. California will be revisiting this. There's no other possibility, and matters will be worse when it does. But isn't this what the conservatives have been saying they wanted all along? They want the 19th century back. Only one problem--what are the going to do with all the extra people? When you hear about this, when you think about this, when you see the human misery this is going to create, remember: someone wanted this, someone made this happen. Not an accident, not a fluke. Policy.


Monday, February 16, 2009

In 2010, the Senate

[Partly in response to remarks in Avedon Carol's most excellent Sideshow.]

A President who was a progressive firebrand would have to declare himself emperor to implement progressive policies in a country where the majority of the Senate is conservative and the Democratic House leadership is also conservative. Progressives now need to focus on Congress: on electing more progressive Senators, and on getting the House Democratic leadership to properly represent the progressive House Democratic majority. It begins to appear that Pelosi has noticed she represents one of the most progressive districts in the USA. Good, that's a start, but let's keep pushing. But, the Senate. The Senate is a problem. We need to focus on the Senate for 2010 (and 2012 and 2014 and...)

What is this? Hope from The Raven? But yes! Krawkkrawkkrawk! W. Bush and his administration were barriers to change. They are gone, and now there is a clear direction for progressive political action. Krawk!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Krugman, croaking at the stimulus and the bailout

In response to John Cole over at Balloon Juice wondering where Krugman spelled out his concerns about the size of the bailout.
My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.--Krugman, "What the Centrists Have Wrought"
Remember, that's just the cuts from a bill that was too small to begin with. The total difference in jobs between doing enough and not doing enough has to be in the millions.

Here's Krugman on the amount of the stimulus:

what’s coming out of the current deliberations is really, really inadequate. I’ve gone through the CBO numbers a bit more carefully; they’re projecting a $2.9 trillion shortfall over the next three years. There’s just no way $780 billion, much of it used unproductively, will do the job."--Krugman, "Happy Stan"
Extra bonus snark, on the banking plan:
Question: what happens if you lose vast amounts of other people’s money? Answer: you get a big gift from the federal government — but the president says some very harsh things about you before forking over the cash.--Krugman, "Bailouts for Bunglers"


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Devil's Bargain

[minor typographic changes] The liberal blogosphere is a abuzz with the news that the Obama administration's justice department has continued to defend one of the deportations for torture with a pernicious doctrine of executive privilege.
"In a closely watched case involving rendition and torture, a lawyer for the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration. [NYT]

The Raven is likewise astonished. One may reasonably explain the better-than-nothing stimulus plan by pointing to the conservative majority in the Senate, and perhaps even Geithner's rumored no-oversight gift to the corrupt banks as well. But actions of the Justice Department are entirely actions of the Executive, and there is no door other than the nation's Chief Executive at which they may be set. Now, it is possible that this is strategy: that the Justice Department intends to lose this case. But if that is so, it's a very risky strategy. What if a conservative court grants the defense?

But, croaks the Raven, I don't think that where it's at. It looks to me like a bargain was struck with the criminals of the Bush administration, just like the bargains made with other corrupt dictators who have been forced, finally, to leave office: defend us, let us retire, and we will go quietly. Frankly, I'm astonished. These people have already "left" public life. Unless they are punished, they will return again, or their next generation. I don't want to see another pointless war of aggression, I don't want another great depression, I want my civil rights back, I want all these things for future generations as well. There is also an ethical problem: this is corrupting. If the biggest criminals get off, what reason is there for the rest of us to toe the line? Corruption breeds corruption. And what are we going to do when the Arab/Islamic world decides that, under the Bush doctrines of enforcement of national laws internationally, they can deal out justice against these people within our own borders?

Monday, February 9, 2009

How is the progressive blogosphere feeling about the stimulus bill and about Obama?

On Firedoglake, me, commenting on Obama's (first) stimulus-plan press conference. If there are any progressive readers out there, who went out and worked hard for Obama--I'm seriously wondering how are you feeling about this bill and about Obama. Please, let me know in comments.