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  • Digby:
    This is why, my friends, we can't have a nice country. Our top opinion leaders are caught in a feedback loop of misinformation, delusion and self-interest. We just had an election and nobody voted for the president because they wanted to cut vital programs. But that's what everyone says has to happen right now in a lame duck session because congress and the White House over two administrations passed some laws and made some agreements that are all expiring and they are treating those expiration dates as if they were handed down by Moses and can only be fixed if we slash debt immediately. That's nonsense from beginning to end.
  • Gallup's Frank Newport is a bit snippy because polling aggregators have noticed that Gallup sucks:
    We have a reverse law of the commons with polls. It’s not easy nor cheap to conduct traditional random sample polls. It’s much easier, cheaper, and mostly less risky to focus on aggregating and analyzing others’ polls. Organizations that traditionally go to the expense and effort to conduct individual polls could, in theory, decide to put their efforts into aggregation and statistical analyses of other people’s polls in the next election cycle and cut out their own polling. If many organizations make this seemingly rational decision, we could quickly be in a situation in which there are fewer and fewer polls left to aggregate and put into statistical models. Many individual rational decisions could result in a loss for the collective interest of those interested in public opinion.
    But there are plenty of pollsters, and some of them actually know what they're doing. With all due respect to Newport, after its embarrassing showing in the last three elections, the only thing Gallup adds to the collective interest is a bit of humor, and not much of even that. If you're really lousy at the one thing you do, no one will miss you if you stop doing it.
  • The Eurozone is back in recession. Those considering cutting government budgets in the United States might want to pay attention.
    Paul De Grauwe of the London School of Economics said that the latest downturn had been brought on by the drastic spending cuts already enacted in southern Europe.

    "We are getting into a double-dip recession which is entirely self-made," he said. "It is a result of excessive austerity in southern countries and unwillingness in the north to do anything else."

    Steen Jakobsen, the chief economist at Saxo Bank, agreed, saying: "This was totally expected because of austerity policies combined with world growth slowing down and a fall in activity in Germany and the Netherlands."

  • Will someone please teach Jay Carney a little about climate change? Or maybe just assign him to read this.
  • Glenn Greenwald finds the fine points about the Petraeus story:
    Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people's careers in Washington - and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.

    Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal - a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair - to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: "an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about").

  • The problem with the economy is out of control unions. Right?
    The nation’s high unemployment rate captures the headlines with each monthly jobs report, yet many Americans may be surprised to learn that real earnings, when adjusted for inflation, have declined across most industries and sectors since the Great Recession. Since 2002, in fact, it’s effectively been a lost decade for workers.

    Equally troubling, real wages are now about the same level as they were in December 2005. Put another way, wages have clawed back from the Great Recession only to the level of seven years ago.

  • What do the Great Pumpkin, Santa Claus, and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan have in common?
  • With it having driven the Eurozone into its second recession in three years, Europeans are understandably unhappy with austerity. Those considering cutting government budgets in the United States might want to pay attention:
    Hundreds of thousands of Europeans mounted one of the biggest coordinated anti-austerity protests across the continent on Wednesday, marching against German-orchestrated cuts as the eurozone is poised to move back into recession.

    Millions took part in Europe-wide strikes, and in city after city along the continent's debt-encrusted Mediterranean rim, thousands marched and scores were arrested after clashes with police.

    There were banners declaring "Austerity kills," Occupy masks, flares, improvised loudspeakers and cancelled flights. But there was also a violent, even desperate edge to the demonstrations, particularly in Madrid and several Italian cities. In the Spanish capital, police fired rubber bullets to subdue the crowd; in Pisa, protesters occupied the Leaning Tower, and in Sicily cars were burned.

  • Perfect:
    George P. Bush, a nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of one-time Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has made a campaign filing in Texas that is required of candidates planning to run for state office, an official said Thursday night.

    The younger Bush, a Fort Worth resident, filed a campaign treasurer appointment Wednesday, a requirement for someone to become a candidate under campaign finance law, Tim Sorrells, general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission, told The Associated Press.

    Sorrells said the report does not specify what office Bush might seek, if any, and he had no other details on the filing, which wasn’t available online. Bush did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment, and no phone listing for him could be found.

    Because the Bush family hasn't done enough damage, the next generation is ready to bring it on. But note that there is no hint of what office he will seek. Because it's not about any given office, or doing any given job, it's about keeping the aristocracy going for a fourth generation. And you can be certain that those Republicans, who so hate government, will indeed vote him up and keep the aristocracy going. Because government isn't for governing, it's an occupational birthright.
  • From a press release by the Center for Climate Strategies:

    A new study released today by the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) upends the conventional wisdom that cheap natural gas and the lagging economy alone account for recent and  expected declines in U.S. carbon emissions.

    The study and accompanying analysis show that counted together, eight policies already in place at local, state and federal levels account for more reductions — 46 percent — than the recession or natural gas, as projected by 2020. Additional smaller scale policies and price changes add up to 27 percent more impact. The role of the economy on projected emissions reductions is estimated at 22 percent in 2020 and eighteen percent in 2030.

    Working from Energy Information Administration data, the study cites current projections for carbon pollution and its equivalent as 23 percent lower by 2020 than the estimates made in 2005 for the same period, and 69 percent closer to President Obama’s stated climate goals.

    Only the government can do it.

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