Patterico's Pontifications


Treasury’s Decision To Not Bail Out Lehman Bros Was A Message To The Broader Market To Get Their House In Order

Filed under: General — WLS @ 11:30 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Not sure where I saw it earlier today, but one of the most plausible explanations I saw for the decision to not rescue Lehman Brothers over the weekend was the fact that AIG turned down a buyout from a venture capital firm because the buyout would have resulted in a change of management.

After Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac were rescued, the Treasury and the Fed wanted the Street to understand that not everyone was “too big to fail.” Merrill Lynch got the message and took Bank of America’s stock in exchange for the protection of its balance sheet.

AIG didn’t get the message — though they may view their options a little more soberly today than they did yesterday.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were too big to fail because of the broad implications for the secondary mortgage market — the crippling complications of the shutdown of that market would have created a host of failures among institutions holding paper acquired from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The bail out of Bear Stearns was a product of the fact that Bear held a tremendous amount of counter-party swap liability. Without a white knight, all those parties on the other end of those transactions would have lost billions. And, there was a great Vanity Fair article a couple months ago that made a very strong case that Bear Stearns was actually taken down by a huge speculative short-selling of its shares, combined with a rumor campaign against it which caused its lenders to pull back on their commitments, which then led to its customers withdrawing their capital, thereby crippling its ability to do business when there was no real fundamental problem with its balance sheet.

The key question is how many more Bank of Americas are out there.


Quote of the Day

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 11:27 pm

“If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily.”

— The Supremely Eloquent Barack Hussein Obama

Your Daily Palin Links

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:19 pm

Memo to the John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign:

Enough with the allegations of sexism already. Palin herself declined the opportunity to declare herself the victim. But your campaign speaks for her, and when you scream sexism — even at a comedy bit — it reflects badly on her.

Also, start being more careful with the facts. I don’t see any evidence that Palin has claimed that she went to Iraq. She told Charlie Gibson she went to Germany and Kuwait, and that’s accurate. But your campaign has said she went to Iraq — creating an opening for RAWMUSLGLUTES to claim that she lied. Sure, that’s a lie by Sullivan, since Palin and her campaign are not the same thing. But you create stupid openings for such accusations by being careless with the facts.

By the way, I was talking to a colleague today about whether the general public had gotten savvy regarding the extent to which Palin is getting boned by the media. He said he thought the public understands. I said I hadn’t seen polling, but that I was suspicious that the general public is getting it.

I hate to say I told you so . . .

(Regular readers know that’s a blatant lie. And I didn’t even get my campaign to tell it!)

Ah hell, that’s too serious. How about some fun pro-Palin videos?


Voter Fraud

Filed under: 2008 Election,Crime,General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:04 pm

Instapundit linked this post the other day from Clarice Feldman (mother to my ex-neighbors in Marina del Rey!) about voter fraud by ACORN:

Several municipal clerks across the state are reporting fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications, most of them from a nationwide community activist group working to help low- and moderate-income families.

The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs.

What a shock. Instapundit asks: “I wonder why this doesn’t get more press?” The answer, of course, is that the Conventional Wisdom is that voter fraud simply isn’t a problem. It’s a phony issue manufactured by Rove types to gin up outrage among the rubes.

But I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight another entertaining link about voter fraud, sent to me by commenter R.R. This has to do with the Governor of Montana boasting to an audience of trial lawyers about voter fraud in his state.

Follow the link and poke around the links there. I would especially recommend this link, which has the Governor’s full remarks. I was unable to open the video file due to technical issues, but somehow the audio popped up on my computer, and I listened to the whole thing. The bit where he boasts about using police to intimidate Republican poll watchers is quite clearly not satire. It is, very clearly, boasting about using backcountry scumbucket tactics to threaten the poll watchers with phony arrests if they didn’t skedaddle — IMMEDIATELY — away from the polling places they had been assigned to monitor.

This guy is scum. He openly boasted about voter fraud. It’s disgusting. Go and listen for yourself.

If I were a prosecuting authority in Montana, you can bet I would open an investigation based on what I heard.

Obama and the Weather

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama appeared Monday at an outdoor rally at the Pueblo, Colorado fairgrounds where he made this apparently off-the-cuff statement:

“When he took the stage, Obama noted how good the weather is when he’s in Colorado. (Today in Pueblo: cloudless, slight breeze, 78 degrees.)

“I wonder whether it’s me?”, flirting with furthering the deification narrative.

“Divine intervention!” a woman screamed from the audience.

“Oh, it’s like this all the time?” Obama asked in mock disappointment.”

Talking about the weather is a great way to make a connection but Barack Obama seems prone to say or do things that perpetuate his image as the chosen one.

I doubt there’s a politician at the federal level that doesn’t have a healthy ego and I don’t want to pick on casual statements, but given the persistent Obamessiah issues, was this really a good idea?

UPDATE 9/16/2008: Follow up post here.


Best Buy Acquires Napster

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This seems like a good pairing:

“Napster Inc. (NAPS) (NAPS), the online music community that rose from a dorm room project to became the scourge of the global recording industry, is being purchased by Best Buy Inc. for nearly $127 million as the electronics retailer tries to boost its digital music business.

The $2.65 per share all-cash deal announced Monday is nearly double the music network’s Friday closing price but a small sum to pay for Best Buy, which gets access to Napster’s 700,000 subscribers who pay a monthly fee to access digital music catalogs.

“It’s not a huge investment, but it definitely has brand recognition,” said Morningstar analyst Brady Lemos, who said Best Buy also benefits from the acquisition of technical expertise about the digital music industry.”

Analysts seem to like it, too. It enables Best Buy to compete with Apple’s iTunes with an established brand.


Continued Debate Over The Legacy Of David Foster Wallace (UPDATED)

Filed under: Books,Current Events,Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 7:08 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

John Ziegler posts his views on author David Wallace Foster’s suicide here. He is clearly challenging much of the standard narrative coming from the admirers of Wallace.

Ziegler also manages to make reference to a previous Patterico post (written by me) found here (which contains a link to Wallace’s article on Ziegler at issue).

— Justin Levine

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I am getting a lot of negative reaction to this post. I have asked some of the correspondents if they would like their negative feedback posted as an update. I’ll post some of it here as that feedback comes in.

It feels wrong to take the post down, since it’s been up for a while — whether I would have posted it or not. But I certainly believe in airing any criticism of the post. Send it on and I’ll post it.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: Scott Eric Kaufman has this reply to Ziegler. It appears clear that Scott doesn’t think much of Ziegler’s piece.

UPDATE x3 BY PATTERICO: I don’t really know anything about Wallace but I’ll add this as a general observation about depressed people who commit suicide. In my view, they are simply ill. Mental illness is a disease like any other. I don’t think depressed people should be faulted for being ill.

And I don’t like speaking ill of the recently dead.

And it would have been more courageous for Ziegler to write this post while Wallace was still alive and had the chance to defend himself.

UPDATE x4 BY PATTERICO: Eric Blair writes:

I have long been impressed by a story about Abraham Lincoln. When angry with someone, he would write an angry letter, detailing how he felt in every lurid detail. Then he would put the letter in a drawer. Soon he cooled off, and never actually sent the letter. The story goes on to relate that Lincoln had several drawers full of such unsent letters, which he felt showed him at his worst.

So it is with John Ziegler’s rant about the recent tragic suicide of David Foster Wallace. So it is with Justin Levine’s linking to that post. Unnecessary. Hurtful to the bereaved survivors of that tragedy. And perhaps most importantly, it changes no one’s mind, while inflaming further partisanship. I’m not saying that John Ziegler is wrong to be angry at David Foster Wallace’s article. Nor am I saying that David Foster Wallace was a great man. The tragedy of suicide is that we will never know what David Foster Wallace had in his future. And more to the point, his surviving friends and family do not either. Instead, they get to read someone saying unkind and angry things about their loved one, perhaps even before the funeral.

I was heartsick at the comments made by the Kos and DU types with the death of Tony Snow. John Ziegler’s unkind and hurtful words are not as bad as that, no. But many good people on the Left stood silent, and did not condemn those statements. I am writing to say this: we are supposed to be better than that. We should not be part of that kind of thing, in any way.

Justin Levine should have known better than to post that link. I’m deeply disappointed.

UPDATE X 5 BY JUSTIN LEVINE: Since I didn’t offer any editorial opinion on this matter either way, I am utterly baffled by the reaction of Patterico, Eric Blair and others. Is the policy that blogs such as this shouldn’t even link to items that people find objectionable?? If you want to criticize Ziegler for what he wrote, have at it. That is why I still have pingbacks engaged on all my posts to allow for such feedback by those who want to take the time to post differing views. [I don’t allow comments because my experience tells me that it is far less conducive to intelligent debate than actual blog posts which are usually more carefully thought out.] But I’m bewildered by the “blame the messenger” mentality directed at me. Is the suggestion that Ziegler’s post should have been ignored? Will this be the new ground rule for all incendiary posts at Kos, Huffington Post, etc.? Are you directing the same criticism to Eric Kaufman who also links to Ziegler’s post and is giving it more attention? Of course Eric criticizes Ziegler. That’s fine. I just don’t get why people have a problem with my choosing to draw people’s attention to the Ziegler’s comments in an editorially neutral fashion.

I am equally disappointed by the reaction towards my merely choosing to link to the post and alert people to it.

UPDATE x6 BY PATTERICO 4-2-09: Having spoken to Ziegler recently, I come away with respect for him as someone who speaks the truth as he sees it, regardless of the consequences — and that causes me to view this controversy with new eyes. I still think the criticism would have been better leveled during Wallace’s life, but I am more receptive than before to the idea that Ziegler’s criticisms may nevertheless have been on target.

Only In America Could Charles Rangel Keep His Chairmanship of House Ways and Means Committee

[Posted by WLS]

Come on — how much of an idiot does a guy have to demonstrate himself to be before election officials in the Democrat party conclude that leading one of the most important Committees in the House of Representatives outweighs the spoils system of Congressional seniority?

Here’s the latest on Lord Charles:


Sullivan Has A Comically “Rose-Tinted Glasses” View of a Comment on Polling From The Democrat Leaning Website 538.Com

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:41 am

[Posted by WLS]

Apparently, Randy Andy’s willingness to lift comments completely out of context knows no boundaries — he even does it when he’s quoting from Dem. leaning websites.  

Here’s a quick blurb he took out of an analysis of the latest polling over at 538.Com:

We may be seeing a natural peaking in McCain’s post-convention numbers:

“Overall, the landscape has not changed very much since the Republican convention – we’re just collecting different evidence about where the bounce might or might not be in different states. Arguably, however, there are a few signs that McCain is beginning to come off his peaks. Between the four national tracking polls, McCain now leads by an average of just 0.25 points, his smallest margin since the convention.”

True, this was in the very last paragraph of the posting by Nate Silver at  Below the jump is the “other” news about polling that Silver included but Andy left out:


Clintons Call Obama “Dead Man Walking” — John Harris Says So Over At Politico

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,Media Bias,Politics — WLS @ 6:55 am

[Posted by WLS]

This is an amazing piece of political journalism jujitsu by John Harris at Politico.

Make no mistake about it, Bill Clinton on Thursday turned the first shovel of dirt in burying Obama’s coffin in the campaign graveyard.  He then turned to Harris and made the first “We told you so” claim to the Democrat party.

The subject of the article is the meeting Thursday between Clinton and Obama, and what “advice” Clinton might have given Obama in their time together.  Of course, Harris points out that the meeting was closed, and he doesn’t know what Clinton really said, but based on his 16 years of covering Clinton, and the two books he wrote about him, he gives Politico readers his “educated guess.”

One thing he doesn’t do is say that Clinton aides didn’t give him a rundown of how Clinton feels about Obama and the campaign — which they clearly did because Harris quotes them in the piece. 

The Obama people in seeing the piece must have said to each other: “Great, we have a private meeting with him, and he then sends out his close associates to tell the world how it is he thinks we are screwing up the campaign.  Whose side is he on?” 

Like they really need to ask.

But what really got my attention was this passage from the article:


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