September 22, 2008

The Zillion Dollar Bailout
12:00 AM

Two old friends of mine are in the thick of the zillion dollar bailout. (That’s what it might come to.) But not on the side of the bankers.  They’re on the side of what you can clearly and cleanly call “the people.” One of them is Barney Frank whom I’ve known for probably more than forty years. He is now the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and a brainy and funny man he is.

Democrats Of Wasilla--unite!
12:00 AM

I'm in Anchorage tonight after spending the last week or so in Wasilla. Without stepping on the piece I'm supposed to write, I can relate one of the more amusing (and heartening) scenes I observed in Alaska. It took place Friday night at a meeting of the Mat-Su Valley (i.e., Wasilla area) Democratic Party--a group of folks who, in the last three-plus weeks, have become the most motivated voters on the planet.

September 21, 2008

Mccain V. Obama On "60 Minutes"
12:00 AM

An interesting contrast in styles tonight, one that might foreshadow Friday night's first debate. McCain, as he often is during sit-downs, was stiff and slightly uncomfortable-seeming. Obama was all winning smiles and effortless cool. But there was also a contrast in tone between the candidates, one whose winner is less obvious. McCain did an excellent job of presenting himself as a) outraged--"frankly enraged," as he put it--over the financial crisis and b) a man of action determined to shake up Washington. He made a populist denunciation of  "greed and access" on Wall Street and in DC.

Bailout For Thee, But Why Not For Me?
12:00 AM

I don't agree that George Bush is responsible for the entire financial calamity through which we are trying to make our ways. But never in our history -- and certainly not during the Great Depression when the conscientious Herbert Hoover was in the White House -- has there been a president so blithe as this one.  Has Bush asked from where the trillion dollar bailout will come and, moreover, how we will ever pay for our super-gargantuan debt?An interesting letter, "Dear Mr. Bernanke and Mr.

Obama's Early-voting Advantage
12:00 AM

For the record, I think early voting is a pretty lousy idea, at least when it starts more than a few days out. Campaigns are intricately-timed affairs--when run well, they have beginnings, middles, and ends, almost like a good narrative--and candidates can't possibly execute them effectively if they're ending at different times for different voters. Unfortunately, several states now let people vote weeks before Election Day.

September 20, 2008

Charlie Rangel's No Good Very Bad Year
12:00 AM

First, he backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary (and paid for it by being denied a speaking role at the Democratic convention.) Then the NYT did an investigative report on his four rent-stabilized apartments. Then it was discovered that Rangel had failed to pay taxes on $75,000 of rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. That led to a meeting with House Democratic leaders who pressured him to step down as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. And now Rangel's gone and called Sarah Palin "disabled," which has the flying monkeys all worked up.

September 19, 2008

Sarah Quaylin
12:00 AM

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I’ve gotten confused about all the reasons I’m supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his “celebrity.” But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The “celebrity” attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep.

The Rtc: What You Need To Know
12:00 AM

Clay Risen is managing editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and a contributing editor at World Trade. His first book, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination will appear in January. In recent days, policymakers and financial experts have circled around the idea of creating a government entity--in the model of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC)--to buy up failing assets of financial institutions.

Hillary Spotlights Reproductive Rights
12:00 AM

 Hillary has an op-ed in today's NYT that looks at the Bush administration's latest effort to undercut women's health and reproductive rights. Someone in our office suggested that the piece's failure to mention any of the current presidential combatants means Hillary has decided to check out of this race and focus squarely on rebuilding her own brand. Maybe. But I actually see this piece as lending a hand to Team Obama by aiming to make voters think twice about the consequences of a pro-life White House.

September 18, 2008

The Nose Cutting
12:00 AM

There’s a saying oft heard in Russian schoolyards: “Go ahead and spit at me. Fill your mouth with shit and spit at me.” It may be an indelicate way of suggesting that one should cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face, but it provides some insight into why Russia’s economy, which grew by eight percent last year, has suddenly melted. The failures on Wall Street linked arms with falling oil prices to wallop a Russian market that, due to a combination of internal factors, had been sliding all summer.