21 Dec 2012

Where to Go From Plan B, And Why the Answer Is “Nowhere”

I couldn’t think of a more fitting story on my last day of blogging to symbolize the nature of our government than the aborting of Plan B, wherein House Republicans couldn’t even pass a messaging bill with no chance of advancing. Sometimes we’ve seen Speaker Boehner miscount the votes –

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21 Dec 2012

What the Housing Market Actually Looks Like

This week brought more good statistical news for the housing market. Existing home sales rose at a decent clip in November, nearing post-bubble highs not seen since the artificial spike from the homebuyer’s tax credit (I’ve noted that the end of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act could be giving the same spike). Inventory fell again, which presages higher prices. And while housing starts fell in November, the more stable indicator of homebuilding permits rose above expectations. There’s a huge hole to dig out from – even with its 25% rise, housing starts in 2012 would be the 4th-lowest in history – but the digging is occurring.

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21 Dec 2012

Fatster’s Roundup

? Between 1968-73 Britain “forced removal of 1,500 Chagossians from the island of Diego Garcia” because the US wanted to put a military base there. Ever since, the Chagossians, now living in Britain and Mauritius, have been trying to get back to their homelands. Finally, the European Court of Rights in Strasbourg has ruled–against them.

? Seems the Libor scandal had a major impact on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–$3+billion loss. An unnamed “federal regulator” made the estimate and said “legal action against banks involved in fixing the Libor rate should be considered.” Ya think?

? Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Carl Levin (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) have sent a letter to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton expressing their “deep disappointment” with the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which they found “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.”

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20 Dec 2012

Boehner Bails on Plan B

I just finished laughing from this spectacle on the House floor today. The House leadership tried desperately to pass “Plan B,” the main part of which was an extension of the Bush tax cuts on the first $1 million of income. In truth, all of the other giveaways in it

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20 Dec 2012

The Plan B Follies: Freedomworks Jumps Off the Ship

This clown show on the House floor just got more hilarious. At some point in the last four hours or so, Freedomworks, a key tea party group, abandoned their support of Plan B, this Boehner proposal to create what looks like a conservative wish list. They wrote a long encomium

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20 Dec 2012

Plan B Morphs Into a Conservative Wish List

House Republicans will wait until tonight to pass “Plan B,” and while I think ultimately it will pass, the reason they’re waiting so long is that they have to figure out what to put into it to get conservative votes. Erick Son of Erick has a whip list of 34

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20 Dec 2012

Testimony Today in Congress About Benghazi Incident

Hearings in Congress today pile on the political debate over the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. The hearings come on the heels of the Pickering-Mullen report, which looked at the actions of the State Department and foreign service leading up to the attack, finding serious deficiencies in management and “grossly inadequate” security at the consulate. As a result four senior State Department officials resigned.

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20 Dec 2012

GDP Rises to 3.1% in Final Q3 Estimate, But the Main Drivers Won’t Last

The economy grew at a faster rate than expected in the third quarter, according to the final revision on GDP released today. GDP increased at a relatively healthy 3.1% clip in Q3, a step up from the 1.3% increase in the final revision in Q2. Both figures are annualized. The

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20 Dec 2012

Testimony Today in Congress About Benghazi Incident

Hearings in Congress today pile on the political debate over the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. The hearings come on the heels of the Pickering-Mullen report, which looked at the actions of the State Department and foreign service leading up to the attack, finding serious deficiencies in management

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20 Dec 2012

What the Housing Market Actually Looks Like

This week brought more good statistical news for the housing market. Existing home sales rose at a decent clip in November, nearing post-bubble highs not seen since the artificial spike from the homebuyer’s tax credit (I’ve noted that the end of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act could be giving

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