Saturday, February 21, 2009

Best Job in the World

Friend Janet applied for the best job in the world.

Economy? What economy?

Reuters: Renowned investor George Soros said on Friday the world financial system has effectively disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis.

Via Sprung, here's Roubini on nationalization: "Six months from now even firms that today look solvent are going to look insolvent. Most of the major banks -- almost all of them -- are going to look insolvent. In which case, if you take them all over all at once, you cause less damage than if you would if you took over a couple now, and created so much confusion and panic and nervousness.

Kevin Drum: Beirut probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. But it turns out that back when Wall Street was running wild, Lebanon's central banker, Riad Toufic Salame, was busy keeping his country's banks some of the safest in the world.

atrios can't top crying for the poor disadvantaged bushies: Only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded, estimated Eric Vautour, a Washington recruiter at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. That "is much, much worse" than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton left the White House, he said. Paul Krugman adds: But it appears that wingnut welfare is breaking down when it comes to former Bush officials. Is this the beginning of the end for movement conservatism?
Benen on stoopid Repuglican talking points: Didn't we already have this debate? Isn't it already clear that the conservative talking points were wrong in October, and haven't improved with age? I suspect most of these conservative media personalities know their arguments are wrong, but haven't quite come up with anything new yet. So, they recycle the old talking points, discredited though they may be.
  • Josh has a Deep Thought!
  • Robert Reich on The New Deal and the New New Deal: Countering Conservative Claptrap
    The stock market reached a six-year low today. Why? Some blame loose talk (including that of former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan) about nationalizing the nation's banks. Others blame Obama's new plan for helping homeowners who may not be able to pay their mortgages. But the real culprit is the accelerating decline in aggregate demand -- consumers, businesses, and exports. Companies are losing money because their customers are disappearing. That's precisely why the stimulus is so important -- indeed, why many of us fear it's too small.

brownsox finds epic NRCC fail in an anti-stimulus ad in MI: Amid the smoking cessation and STD prevention programs the NRCC cites as evidence of Peters irresponsibility come "$1 Billion for Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program" and "$600 Million for cars for government employees." The fact that Michigan lawmakers of both parties pushed for the advanced battery funding apparently didn't occur to the NRCC. Nor did the fact that those cars for government employees would be build by Michigan-based manufacturers.

Good Start

President Obama had a busy first month.

Rachel looks at the Obama administration's accomplishments:

The President's weekly address describes "the quickest and broadest tax cut in history:" Earlier this week, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the most sweeping economic recovery plan in history. Because of this plan, 3.5 million Americans will now go to work doing the work that America needs done.

On Friday, Gibbs smacked down the now infamous CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's rant about the housing plan. AmericaBlog's Chris in Paris says the rant "is being treated like it's a masterpiece. It's all of the normal wingnuttery that we've heard for years. Nobody likes to fund "bad behavior" and it's questionable whether the new bailout plan for homeowners will work, but even the "well behaved" will benefit from stabilization in the housing market. Maybe CNBC hasn't noticed but the markets continues to be in a free fall. Stability is what is needed both for housing and Wall Street."

From the White House, Gibbs corrects the record on the President’s housing plan that Santelli and friend's deliberately confused.

BarbinMD: After a week that saw the President travel to Arizona and Colorado, sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, unveil his Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, and make his first foreign visit, he's going to have a very quiet weekend.

In the meantime, some Republican governors apparently have decided to pander to their base instead of looking after the interests of their constituents. Steve Benen explains that they plan to limit unemployed assistance included in the stimulus bill. Jindal & Co. aren't worried about reality -- and they're certainly not worried about the unemployed -- when there's political grandstanding to be done.

UPDATE: SusanG blogs the Post's "
sneak preview of the budget President Obama will unveil Tuesday ... on a first quick read, it looks mighty progressive:" President Obama is putting the finishing touches on an ambitious first budget that seeks to cut the federal deficit in half over the next four years, primarily by raising taxes on business and the wealthy and by slashing spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration officials said.

Mark Kleiman Writes Letters. You can too.

I was stunned to read George Will’s error-filled Washington Post column - Dark Green Doomsayers - disputing global warming. After considerable pushback regarding the column, during which the Post refused to correct Will's errors of fact, Washington Post's ombudsman Andy Alexander charged to Will's defense based on a willfully false reading of the disputed data from the Arctic Climate Research Center. Hilzoy did a masterful job refuting Alexander's position here.

Mark Kleiman, of The Reality-Based Community, suggests that people write letters to the Post about George Will's error filled column. Mark said: I think it's important that the Post hear about his, and hear about it again, and then hear about it some more.

Sound like a good idea to me. You can send an E-mail to Andy Alexander here.

Update: Mr. Alexander getting a rough welcome over the Will issue in the comments to A New Ombudsman Checks In. It will be interesting to see if he is an improvement over the execrable Lil Debbie.

Update2: Alexander sought to impress in his opening column, immediately after utterly failing to "take a hard shot" in his first test:
That's where I come in. As The Post's new ombudsman, I am its internal critic. My job is to represent the interests of readers, hold The Post to high standards and explain its inner workings to an often-suspicious public. If I do my job well, readers will be empowered, and The Post will be more accountable, trusted and essential. I've been guaranteed extraordinary independence for my two-year term. My contract ensures that I'm "not subject to the editorial control" that The Post exerts over its staff. That means I can take some hard shots at the newspaper without fear of being sacked.