Some nutcase ran into the Discovery Building, took hostages and got shot. That’s about the extent of what I have to say on that matter. As for the rest…
• Here’s the speech from Christina Romer that I mentioned earlier today. Her calling HAMP “slow, steady progress” (and claiming that $50 billion has been spent on foreclosure mitigation when the figures show $250 million) is a disqualifying remark. The second half, beginning with “the turnaround has been insufficient” and building to a crescendo with “The only surefire way for policymakers to substantially increase aggregate demand in the short run is for the government to spend more
and tax less” is better, but I’d rather hear from Romer tomorrow, when she doesn’t have to carry water for the Administration.
• The Office of Congressional Ethics will further investigate three House members, including two Republicans, for their curious habit of holding fundraisers with the financial services industry right before key votes on the subject. The five others whose cases were dismissed are none too happy about having the speculation out there previously.
• Manufacturing actually showed some growth today, sending stocks up. I wouldn’t give this counter-intuitive a take on the future of the economy (“things are so bad now that they can’t get worse!” is what it amounts to). That said, the only thing stopping us from policies that would provide growth is political will. Some more steps to actually enforce trade laws would help, as evidenced by the success of the Chinese tire import restrictions.
• The embattled Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission started their final public hearings in Washington today (there will be some other field hearings around the country), and got former Lehman chief Dick Fuld to whine about how he wasn’t bailed out like everyone else. Sigh. I used to think this commission offered a real opportunity.
• Drew Westen’s big think on right-wing populism and the Democrats is pretty first-rate.
• Meanwhile, they had an old-fashioned bank run today – in Kabul. Central bankers (Afghanistan has central bankers?) had to take over the nation’s largest bank to avoid a crisis. The CEO of the bank had luxury villas in Dubai. No corruption to see here, move along.
• Ron Wyden wants to accelerate the state opt-out in the Affordable Care Act to benefit his home state of Oregon, and he thinks the state should up out of the individual mandate as well.
• Those Yemenis who got picked up in the Netherlands on a flight, with all the cell phones? Never mind.
• Matt Miller provides a path forward for liberal hawks, and neocons if they so choose, to completely repudiate the Iraq war. Unfortunately, I expect him to get a promotion for his bad judgment any day now.
• Liberal journalists don’t want to stoop to their counterparts’ level, I suppose, but while I haven’t yet read Markos Moulitsas’ book American Taliban it seems he is guilty of nothing but teasing out the logical trajectory of conservative ideology and correctly labeling their relative sympathies from an ideological perspective. I don’t know what’s wrong with that.
• Chris Christie looks caught dead to rights in the New Jersey education funding scandal. It’s a petty thing, but shows Christie’s character.
• Cash for Coal Clunkers? Anything to create incentives to shut down old, dirty coal plants sounds good to me.
• In Delaware, teabagger Christine O’Donnell sounds like a piece of work, and her supporters are casually throwing out homophobic whisper campaigns. Tell me again about how conservatives are poised to win back the LGBT vote.
• If you have several spare hours, read this report on core partisans and their beliefs. Short version: core Republicans care much more about race and morality (as they see it), Democrats much more about social welfare.
• Committed conservative Ron Johnson really likes planned-economy socialism as it’s practiced in Communist China.
• Very effective ad from Kendrick Meek. Their strategy seems to be: 1) go nuclear on Charlie Crist; 2) come back to Marco Rubio afterwards. The question is whether Rubio will benefit from the lack of attention and sprint out to an insurmountable lead in the meantime.
• Sarah Palin stories make my head hurt, but she does seem like a holy terror. I suspect she’s all too happy to have a profile this out there to resent. At least she’s not likely to sue the media for losing a political campaign, like uber-whiner Jeff Greene.
• Fidel Castro takes the blame for persecution of gays and lesbians after the Cuban revolution.
• Political gerrymandering has nothing on the new Big Ten.