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There's that voice modulation thing he does when his rhetoric is emphasizing a deep commitment. You know the one I mean where his voice gets deeper and little gravely as if the thought is so important or felt so deeply it takes a little more effort to squeeze the words out.

Maybe it's an appeal to our better angels. Maybe it is an effort to not just state his conviction but to perform it as well. But whatever it is I hate it.

Let's look at an example and an alternative.

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Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:11 PM PST

GOP's long road back to conservatism

by hoipolloi

Some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for a while came into somewhat better focus while reading Steve Benin's take on the WaPo's "whither the GOP" poll at Political Animal.

What got me started is the following clause from the WaPo write up that Benin quotes at the outset of his post:

...a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party's leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party's plans for reclaiming power.

While this is not a quote from the GOP, the party and its officeholders do seem to be focused on regaining power at the expense of any other valid exercise of office. Hence the party of no; it's all Obama's fault; we need to get back to our principles while actively obstructing the Democrats.

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Bonddad's recent diary An Economic Chicken and Egg Story accurately documents that the rate of unemployment is a trailing indicator of economic recovery. That is, one should not expect to see the unemployment rate go down before economic activity has been increasing for some time. In short, GDP must go up before the unemployment rate goes down. That is correct and Bonddad has the graphs showing its validity in historical terms. Are there, however, other employment measures that provide indicators of what is going on in the economy right now?

That is the subject of an interesting post by John Judis (h/t yglesias) that while arguing for another round of stimulus suggests that overall employment (that is, how many people are in the work force) and average hours worked provide valuable insight into the real state of the economy.

I'll dig a little deeper across the fold.

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Thu Mar 19, 2009 at 09:53 AM PDT

stimulus impact: a COBRA story

by hoipolloi

For anyone wondering when the recently passed stimulus package (ARRA) will take effect, let me announce that my wife and I were recently stimulated in the form of an offset and subsidy to our COBRA payments.

We've been on COBRA since November when I was laid off. We are paying >$800 a month to keep our crappy health plan. It turns out ARRA provides a tax refund for what we've already paid and starting next month will cut our payment by 65% through a subsidy.

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To the sound of knashing of teeth...

Here's Wiktionary's take:


  1. noun. Cooperation between competing political parties; governing in a bipartisan manner.

Here's Webster's take:


  1. adjective. representing, characterized by, or including members from two parties or factions: Government leaders hope to achieve a bipartisan foreign policy.

  2. adjective. Of, consisting of, or supported by members of two parties, especially two major political parties: a bipartisan resolution. bi·par'ti·san·ism n., bi·par'ti·san·ship' n.

I'm proposing some revisions on the flip side...


What does bipartisanship mean to you?

17%12 votes
10%7 votes
8%6 votes
16%11 votes
11%8 votes
30%21 votes
4%3 votes

| 68 votes | Vote | Results

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As some may be aware I was laid off from Government Sachs on Wednesday, November 5th. (Yeah, Obama won! BTW, you're unemployed.)

I took the gig (contract programming) the week Bear Stearns went bankrupt because I had already spent two recessions unemployed and while the job at GS pretty much sucked I thought getting a paycheck during a recession would be a novel and comforting experience. The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.

This unemployment situation along with my wife's planned career change has however presented us with an opportunity.


Your plan is

8%3 votes
24%9 votes
24%9 votes
10%4 votes
27%10 votes
5%2 votes

| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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Kossack bosshijack diaried the profile of Nate Silver in New York Times. It is a nice piece and interesting for those who, like me, were not aware of Nate's background as a baseball statistics fanatic.

I would like to draw your attention to the last two paragraphs of the article which struck a chord with some thoughts I've been having over the last few months.

One thing Mr. Silver cannot predict: what happens now. He...will continue with FiveThirtyEight, using it to predict Congressional votes during the Obama administration — if anyone cares.

"That’s the paradox," he said. "You would think that you elect this guy and you want him to effect change, and then he gets elected, and people don’t care about bills being passed."

I think this is indeed a paradox. The question is how do we go about "car[ing] about bills being passed?"

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No one could have predicted that Mooselini would pander to Hispanic/Latino voters during an interview on Univision.

I saw this at Crooks and Liars yesterday when I got home from work. I expected it to be all over the blogospheroid this morning but it is not.

The gist is that during an interview on Univision Palin was asked for her views on whether undocumented immigrants should have a path to citizenship. Her answer, flying in the face of one of the deepest held terrors of her base of support was that there should be a citizenship track for the undocumented. I agree with Caribou Barbie on something!

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Apropos the hullabaloo regarding McCain/Palin's criticism of Obama as a socialist, Matt Yglesias asks:

"[I]sn't the closest thing to socialism on the American policy agenda the status quo situation in...Sarah Palin's Alaska? You have collective ownership of valuable natural resources that generates lots of revenue for the state, and then the government makes "spreading the wealth around" through the Permanent Fund, etc. its main priority. [ellipsis in original]

Of course, given that Gov. Palin has yet to understand that the VP does not run the Senate, it is unlikely she has made the connection between the annual oil check each Alaskan receives and the socialism she reviles in Sen. Obama's remark that "spreading the wealth around" benefits everyone.

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Alan Greenspan, owner and chief public relations director of the reputation of Alan Greenspan, is seeking a bailout at the expense of the free market philosophy he has long championed. In today's New York Times, we are treated to the spectacle of the erstwhile oracle of free market fundamentalism seeking to recapitalize his reputation by writing down his exposure to the economic philosophy most analysts have viewed, at least until recently, as the asset underlying that reputation.

Such a daring decoupling of a derivative reputation contract from its underlying asset philosophy has rarely been tried in the midst of a crisis of this scale. Generally reputation managers such as Mr. Greenspan take short-term writedowns in the hopes that their losses can be recouped by a future biographer when the fog of history settles in. It remains to be seen what the result will be.

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In which, on our way to the polls, we remember that day five years ago today when the esteemed Colin Powell, retired general officer in the U.S. Army, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then Secretary of State, argued before the United Nations General Assembly that Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed an immanent threat and so paved the way for what has been called the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States.

Many of my generation, the career captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war [Vietnam], vowed that when our turn came to call the shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in halfhearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand.

My American Journey; Secretary Powell's autobiography, published in 1995; that is, 7 years before Powell Day.

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I was reading through some of the YK coverage from this front-pager when I came across the following remark from a participant in the LA Times story:

"You can see a real noticeable change in the agenda in Washington already," said Kerry Foret, a Kentucky man who runs the social networking website Diatribune. "We are talking about the war in Iraq and not a flag-burning amendment or some other distraction. Still, people are dissatisfied and want more."

This seems to me to be a powerful way of responding to the beltway Conventional Wisedom that says people are as fed up with the Democratic Congress as they are with the corrupt-o-matic administration and their rubber stamp, obstructionist colleagues in the minority caucuses of both houses of Congress.

Let's see if a then and now comparison bears fruit?

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