At Least It’s An Ethos

Dan Riehl:

Some of the alarmists out there might want to take a moment to consider all the ramifications here. It may sound harsh, but the Great Depression produced many things — one of them was called the Greatest Generation.

Which on the heels of the Brooks column calls to mind the best quote from The Big Lebowski: “Nihilists? Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenants of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

Brooks: “Nihilists”

An extraordinary columns today from the NYT’s David Brooks, pronouncing that the GOp has moved well beyond intellectual bankruptcy:

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation [to the 1933 economic crisis], and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. … And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.

Read the whole thing.

Bail Out

Ross Douthat, in the wake of Monday’s House vote:

The most likely scenario, as of 3 PM this afternoon: The stock market continues to drop. Some version of the bailout passes in the next week. The American economy staggers into a recession, but passes through the storm without 1930s-style suffering; the Republican Party is not so fortunate. Even though most Americans claim to oppose the bailout [update: not anymore], the House GOP’s obstructionism is widely viewed as having worsened the economic situation; the fact that these are contradictory positions does not faze an electorate that wraps all of the country’s current troubles up, ties them with a bow, and lays them at the feet of the Bush-led GOP. John McCain loses by a landslide in November. The Democratic Party regains years or even decades worth of ground among the white working class, consolidates the Hispanic vote, and locks up a large chunk of highly-educated voters who might otherwise lean conservative. The muchdiscussed liberal realignment happens. And a politician running on a Ron Paul-style economic platform does very, very well in the GOP primaries of 2012.

The Dow dropped 777 points. Thanks, assholes. Main Street is getting antsy:

The United States Chamber of Commerce vowed to exert pressure, warning in a letter to members of Congress that it would keep track of who votes how. “Make no mistake,” the letter said. “When the aftermath of Congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen.”

Sunrise on Mars

 

Well, kinda, given that the Phoenix lander is near one of the poles:

Unions Seek Piracy Crackdown

The USN’s indifference to the piracy situation off Somalia isn’t winning this country any friends:

If civil aircraft were being hijacked on a daily basis, the response of governments would be very different.  Yet ships, which are the lifeblood of the global economy, are seemingly out of sight and out of mind.  This apparent indifference to the lives of merchant seafarers and the consequences for society at large is simply unacceptable.

Absolutely right. Catch the seized ships, board them and shoot the g-d pirates. The Navy’s unwillingness to act is an expression of pure cowardice.

Hat tip: EagleSpeak.

SpaceX Makes It

NASA Watch has the on-board video. The first-stage separation still looked rough to me but they got away with it.

Ahoy, Mateys

The piracy situation off Somalia has gotten rather out of hand. Visit EagleSpeak for all the gory details. The USN is in do-nothing mode when frankly a few well-aimed shots from a 5-inch gun would go a long way toward cleaning things up. Galrahn is unhappy:

When piracy, a problem that directly effects free trade, is seen as a low priority for the US Navy, it does not make much sense for the US Navy to hold conversations with business leaders and talk about the importance of protecting the global trade system at sea.

Community Reinvestment

Stephen Bainbridge rubbishes the idea that the Community Reinvestment Act caused the Wall Street meltdown:

Put simply, the freezing up of the credit markets doesn’t have anything to do with either affirmative action or illegal immigration, and people who believe it does are on a par with the conspiracy theorists who think fluoridation is a Chicom plot.

When you look at the data, it’s true that minorities are slightly over-represented in the sub-prime mortgage market. Yet, whites (non-minorities) received 72.5% of subprime mortgages. Blacks got 16.2% of subprime mortgages, which isn’t all that different from the 12.4% of the general population that blacks comprise. The Hispanics about whom Malkin is so hysterical got only 6.2% of subprime mortgages, significantly less than their 14.8% of the general population. But you don’t find an analysis of that data at blogs like those of Malkin or Krikorian.

Bainbridge comes to his variant of conservatism by way of intellectual honesty. And his numbers square with what I’ve seen in pawing through foreclosure records.

Seattle Transit

Matt Yglesias points out, or more accurately has it pointed out to him, that California isn’t the only major player with a big rail bond/program on the ballot this fall.

The One Post to Read on Wall Street

Megan McArdle:

Banks have tens of billions of debt maturities to refinance in the coming months.  The overwhelming majority of it will be good even under distressed circumstances — unless they can’t roll any of it over.  At that point, they experience the same problems you would if your credit card company pulled your credit line and demanded you pay back everything you owe them.  

No doubt some of my readers are rubbing their hands and saying “Exactly what should happen to people who carry credit card balances!”  And I’m sure that among you there are people who pay cash on the barrel for everything, having never taken out any loan for a house, an automobile, an education, a personal financial crisis.  These people never even use an American Express Card, which is, of course, a short-term loan.  They also do not work for companies that borrow money to buy capital equipment or finance expansion, and their firms do not experience any mismatch between their payables and their receivables.  Those people should stop reading now, because I’m pretty sure the Amish aren’t supposed to use the internet.

Read the whole thing.