Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 10, 2010

TUESDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* The Federal Reserve's confidence in the economic recovery has faded to the point that it will now "use the proceeds from its huge mortgage-bond portfolio to buy long-term Treasury securities."

* Paul Krugman reacts: "The Fed's current policy is grossly inadequate, logically bizarre, and slightly -- but only slightly -- encouraging.... [I]t was, literally, the least the Fed could do."

* A plane crash in Alaska this morning claimed the life of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R). Former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe was on board the same flight, but is believed to have survived.

* Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

* In Afghanistan, the number of civilians being killed rose 25% in the first six months of 2010, mostly at the hands of Taliban insurgents.

* Good public health news: "The H1N1 pandemic has officially ended, the World Health Organization declared Tuesday." Don't underestimate the importance of competent government agencies acting effectively.

* The House today approved a $600 million border security bill, but some jurisdictional issues means the Senate will have to vote on it again. The Senate interrupting its August recess to approve the measure is a possibility.

* Google and Verizon voice support for rules that would limit net neutrality when it comes to mobile phones.

* Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is reportedly resting comfortably after surgery today to remove his gallbladder.

* This really isn't a healthy development: "Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards."

* How misguided is the Republican campaign against the 14th Amendment? Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano blasted GOP leaders on the air today.

* And this isn't especially political, but I absolutely loved the story about a young woman quitting her job through 33 cleverly-written erase-board messages. [Update: Darn, it's a hoax. It was amusing, but alas, it wasn't true. Sorry.]

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

. And this isn't especially political, but I absolutely loved the story about a young woman quitting her job through 33 cleverly-written erase-board messages.

Hope she's planning on going back to school for a new career, because she's totally screwed herself in most professions.

Posted by: martin on August 10, 2010 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

This really isn't a healthy development: "Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards."

I read the article and I somewhat disagree with your assesment. The article points out that credit card debt is on the decline because people are 1) buying less and 2) paying down less. Those are good things (at least for the people involved if not the dubios consumer driven 'macro economy). Thus educational debt rises as a percentage of overall debt.

And while debt in any form is not great, debt to gain an education is 'better' (I use the term loosely) than debt to buy a bunch of useless stuff.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 10, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Hope she's planning on going back to school for a new career, because she's totally screwed herself in most professions."

Bull. I'd bet there's half-a-dozen ad agency headhunters who've been called up today to hire her, and probably a couple of publishing editors who've been tasked with finding her and getting a book deal. And I bet she'll be on either Colbert or the Daily Show by the end of next week.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on August 10, 2010 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of credit card debt wasn't to buy a bunch of "useless stuff" but to pay for medical bills because people couldn't get insurance.
And if those people are anything like me, then most of their take home pay has gone to both student loans AND credit card debt for most of their adult lives.
Which is exactly how the powers that be want it--a nation of debt slaves who are too afraid to rock the boat for fear that they won't be able to pay if they lose whatever shitty job they have.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 10, 2010 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

The Federal Reserve's confidence in the economic recovery has faded to the point that it will now ‘use the proceeds from its huge mortgage-bond portfolio to buy long-term Treasury securities’.

That’s not like trying to push on a string, it’s like trying to push on a wet noodle.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 10, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

This really isn't a healthy development: "Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards."
No - it really IS a healthy development. Not only is this good due to credit card debt DECLINING, but the student loans represent an investment that are MUCH MORE LIKELY to pay off than any Xbox bought on a credit card. Also, student loans are always over a longer duration and at a lower interest rate so even though the debt is higher, the payments to service the debt are much lower, freeing up capital that these Americans can use to buy Xboxes with CASH and fuelling the recovery.

Posted by: yep on August 10, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

That was one hell of a BRING IT ON speech.


Posted by: Joe Friday on August 10, 2010 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

The interest on my credit cards runs 8 - 12%
The interest on my student loan is 3.5% and I have something of actual value ... I'm ok that I owe $80k in student loans and $5k in credit cards ...

Posted by: Tang on August 10, 2010 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Quitting Girl: BoingBoing reports that it's a hoax. See http://www.boingboing.net/2010/08/10/hopa-girl-is-obvious.html

Posted by: DanZ on August 10, 2010 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

remember Bernake was appointed by GW Bush.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on August 10, 2010 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Posted late on another thread, so I will ask again--seriously, and not trolling--why should we continue to have birthright citizenship? Aside from the warm fuzzies, what is the argument for maintaining it (other than not letting them monkey with the 14th Amendment as a whole)? I like the Constitution, but I don't like that 3/5s of a person part, or the state legislatures picking senators part. We got rid of those, why do we need to keep this?

Posted by: go on August 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thought provoker: A random paragraph from my files

Amid recession, Memphis becomes America's hunger capital

"What we know from studying earlier recessions is that unemployment is a lagging indicator ... and poverty lags unemployment by one or two years at a minimum," said Elaine Waxman, the director of social policy research for Feeding America. "We're not likely to get back to the poverty rates we saw pre-recession for at least the next 10 years."

Wonder if anyone is planning for that?

Posted by: koreyel on August 10, 2010 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

"The Federal Reserve's confidence in the economic recovery has faded to the point that it will now "use the proceeds from its huge mortgage-bond portfolio to buy long-term Treasury securities."

If the U.S. Congress doesn't act as fast as the Bush/Cheney administration (and Congress) did in late 2008 in passing emergency legislation to bail-out Wall Street gambling houses, then I predict that by late this year or no later than next year the United States will enter another Great Depression, with unemployment exceeding 15 percent (easily) and even more Hooverville's (which should be named Republicanvilles this time around) cropping up all over the place.

Posted by: The Oracle on August 10, 2010 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with verizon and google is that their plan doesn't just effect wireless phones but also general use wireless and wired internet access..

Posted by: MATT on August 10, 2010 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we continue to have birthright citizenship?

The primary initial reason was to make Blacks full citizens, without any second-guessing by panels, possibly biased judges or other officials, impediments like literacy tests, and so forth. Blacks are now full citizens, and that is never going to revert. It should also have precluded the sort of nonsense faced by the Japanese during WWII and by Chinese laborers in earlier years, in that incorporating all children born in the States as citizens should preclude playing scummy politics over trying to make children of some group of immigrants into second-class citizens or non-citizens. There is no better way of incorporating legal immigrants into our society, especially if they come from a society that becomes our enemy (see pre-WWII Germans).

In the modern world, birthright citizenship still serves a crucial need in preventing the creation of a perpetual underclass of multigenerational resident guest workers and/or illegal aliens (nowadays primarily Mexicans). At the time the bill was written, this was not exactly anticipated (other than with respect to African-Americans). Nonetheless, unless we can either deport and exclude all present and potential future illegal aliens, or provide them with a relatively quick one-generational route to citizenship, repealing birthright citizenship would inadvertently create a permanent multi-generational underclass of either foreign guest workers (at best) or quasi-legal or (most likely) illegal residents. When the children of illegal aliens reach adulthood, after having grown up in this country, we can either welcome them with open arms or produce a class of rejected and disaffected outlaws with no stake in our society, not much of a future, no legal source of income, a highly constrained future, no reason to obey our laws, nowhere else to go, and nowhere else that seems like home. At that point, we would probably end up doing half-assed blanket amnesties and broad grants of citizenship whenever politics permitted and pressure became unavoidable, which is to say precisely the arbitrary and politically problematic ongoing headache that the amendment was designed to preclude in the first place.

To see the problems that result from not having birthright citizenship, see the problems that Germany has with guest-worker Turks and France with francophone Africans.

In short, it is not that illegals or children of illegals in any way deserve citizenship, but that it is completely in our own selfish best interests to grant it to them.

Posted by: N.Wells on August 10, 2010 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, N.Wells... very well stated.

Posted by: mm on August 11, 2010 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Nice catch Danz. But if I may, the article Boing Boing links to is even better.

http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20100810/meet-the-prankster-brothers-behind-jenny-the-whiteboard-using-farmville-exposing-hpoa-girl/

Apparently the guys behind have a history of internet pranking including the Donald Trump tipping story and the girl who supposedly texted her dad when she lost her virginity.

Posted by: adolphus on August 11, 2010 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Can the people who are aggravated about the "professional left" comment channel their energies into picking off a few Republicans who are running in territory that's normally hospitable to Democrats? Like, what if the "netroots" threw themselves behind Roxanne Conlin in IA or Chris Coons in DE, who with competitive races could really screw with the conventional wisdom? I think there's been some activity around Paul Hodes in NH. Adding decent Dems to shift the Senate equilibrium leftwards would help immensely.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 11, 2010 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

"The H1N1 pandemic has officially ended,"

Of course, never mind that it never actually began...

Look! The Emperor has new clothes!

Posted by: getaclue on August 11, 2010 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Why is Washington Monthly filled with such a huge group of, in the words of frequent commenter Joe, MINDLESS OBAMABOTS?

Guess none "progessional left" - just more @sshats that shake like pithed frogs when little bobby gibbs starts throwing feces.

Posted by: tammy on August 11, 2010 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, tammy - the reason there are so many mindless obamabots at washington monthly is that there are no "professional left" or liberals/progressives here.

This site is a echo-chamber for obamabots that will stare at you with glassed-over eyes, drool out of the corner of their mouths, and cheer widely every time obamarahma picks up another of dur chimpfurher's policies, scams, war crimes, and treason.

When little bobby gibbs started throwing feces at the "professional left", slandering them with bogus and childish charges of drug use, the threads here lit up with cheers.

To a MINDLESS OBAMABOT, anything that this administration does or allows to happen is GOOD - EVEN SELLING THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE OUT BE ELIMINATING NET NEUTRALITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: joe on August 11, 2010 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Don't underestimate the importance of competent government agencies acting effectively."

But wasn't that, like, government-run healthcare?

Posted by: bob h on August 11, 2010 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see in New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte the other day has a 51-38 lead in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, and this is AFTER Sarah Palin endorsement. Before that endorsement, Ayotte lead 49-38, what was that again about Sarah Palin having an endorsement backfiring on her in NH? I notice there are crickets chirping from Nutroots Nation about this subject.

Posted by: Kevin on August 11, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

FYI, it turns out that the dry erase girl was a HOAX.

http://thechive.com/2010/08/11/a-word-from-jenny-16-photos/

Posted by: Andrew on August 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

N. Wells. I doubt you'll come back to read this, but in case you do, thanks for the response. I don't necessarily agree, but I appreciate an actual reason being put forth.

Posted by: go on August 11, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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