Just in time!

If, you know, you were worried about the entertainment quotient of this year's election dropping off a little too soon, worry no more.

President Obama’s Kenyan half-brother marries teen girl | Raw Story

President Barack Obama's polygamist half brother in Kenya has married a 19-year-old woman more than 30 years his junior.

Plus - no, you didn't think that was all, did you?

Pelosi Renounced by Candidates in Her Own Party - NYTimes.com

PERRY, Ga. — As if embattled Congressional Democrats did not have enough on their hands, some are opening up a new front in their fight to save their seats — against Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House and a leader of their own party.

And - oh yeah, still more...

BP attorney suggests that the oil giant might seek to cap spill claims at $75 million | The Upshot Yahoo! News - Yahoo! News

Yesterday in federal court, an attorney for the oil giant [BP] sent shockwaves throughout the Gulf region by suggesting that BP may seek shelter under the $75 million liability cap polluters can invoke under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Party on!


Photo: Phil Compton

The shrink is in

Bill Maher: New Rule: If a Woman Rejects Your First Dozen Advances, Don't Send Her a Picture of Your Penis

Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Michele Bachmann; the lovely MILFs of the new right. And their little secret is that their popularity comes exclusively from white men. Look at the polling: minorities hate them, women hate them -- only white men like them. I'm no psychiatrist, but I do own a couch, and my theory is that these women represent something those men miss dearly: the traditional, idiot housewife.

Late to the party

OK. I popped 20 bucks for the first season of Mad Men. I did it and I'm not changing my mind.

Turns out, it's a serious trip down Memory Lane. The first Mad Men season occurs in 1960, which is the year I arrived in New York as an advertising copywriter. I didn't work for an agency, I worked for a client - a major manufacturer with a "they couldn't possibly understand us" complex. And I didn't work on Madison Avenue, I worked on lower Broadway - right across the street from the block that would one day house the World Trade Center. But I spent a lot of time at our agency, on Madison Avenue - enough to say the program's depiction of the agency itself - the office - is 99.8% true. 99.9%, maybe, in fact - but that "new girl" from Brooklyn looks a lot more like Queens to me (my secretary was from Brooklyn and she was a lot cuter and had big eye makeup, which was all the rage among young women then) and I couldn't begin to comment on life in Scarsdale or whatever that bit of exurbia that is that our protagonist, Don Draper, occasionally goes home to. I lived on the Lower East Side. 

Still, I knew a lot of those people at Sterling Cooper and like I said, watching the show is a trip. 

I haven't watched the episode about the Nixon-Kennedy election night yet, so don't tell me how it turns out.


Fast Eddie takes a fall

This time, Vrdolyak gets 10 months in prison - Chicago Breaking News

Former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak, among Chicago's most colorful powerbrokers, was resentenced today to 10 months in prison for his role in a rigged Gold Coast real estate deal.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly also sentenced Vrdolyak to five months of work release, five months of home detention and a fine of $250,000.

Vrdolyak scowled...


...fooling around.
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Read it all

Time for a Moratorium on Mortgage Fraud | Benzinga.com

Recall that the banks invented “no doc” mortgages. This was not at the behest of no-account borrowers, high school dropouts with bad credit histories who were duping investment bankers into making mortgage loans they could not repay. No, these mortgages were created and endorsed by originators and securitizers and credit raters to create a patina of “plausible deniability” to be used later in court when they were sued for fraud by investors who bought the securities and by the borrowers who could not possibly service the mortgages. Because if the originators had ever requested the documentation from borrowers it would have demonstrated that the mortgages and the securities were frauds.


Benzinga's Business and Investing Podcast


This must be the "hope" part

DADT Repeal: Obama Vows To End DADT, While Seeking Stay Of Repeal Ruling

WASHINGTON — After two days of silence, the Obama administration urged a federal judge on Thursday to let the military press on with its "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military. Still, President Barack Obama insisted the policy that has divided the nation for two decades "will end on my watch."

Look, as it turns out I am actually conflicted on this matter but I'm not president. If you're president you have to play the friggin' ball. One way or the other. None of this "yes, but no."

(And history is on the side of gays serving openly here. There's no way around that.)


Chocolate Chip Mint: Because I Can

Blogging from Starbucks....

23% rotten now, apparently, sounds good

How the Banks Hid Bad Mortgages - NYTimes.com

Some Wall Street firms were better about including higher-quality mortgages in their mortgage-backed securities than others. For instance, at Goldman Sachs, 77 percent of the nearly 112,000 mortgages reviewed met the guidelines, while at Citigroup only 58 percent did. At Lehman Brothers, which later filed for bankruptcy, 74 percent of the mortgages sampled and then packaged up as securities met underwriting guidelines.


Krugman on "The Mortgage Morass"

Op-Ed Columnist - The Mortgage Morass - NYTimes.com

What can be done?

True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?



In a continuing effort to figure out how to handle pictures better...

...I installed Picassa on my Mac.
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"Not too big to jail"


Everybody needs to stop worrying about the moral hazard of letting average people off the hook for their mortgages and worry a little bit more about the moral hazard of continually allowing these huge financial institutions to get away with murder.

Krispy Kreme (see "... nutrition desk" below)

For more see: http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/

I am just like Christine O'Donnell!

Christine O'Donnell Stumped When Asked To Name A Recent Supreme Court Decision She Disagrees With (VIDEO)

In the Delaware Senate debate Wednesday night, Republican Christine O'Donnell tripped up and was unable to name a single recent Supreme Court decision she disagreed with...

I can't name a single Court decision she disagrees with either!


From our nutrition desk

New Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger Will Give You Diabetes Immediately


Drop everything!

Laser Guns | Talking Points Memo

West Virginia Senate hopeful John Raese is hitting the campaign trail with a plan to launch 1000 laser guns into orbit to shoot down rogue state missiles. "We need 1,000 laser systems put in the sky and we need it right now."

Seriously. I'm working right through lunch.

New crime: Breathing while brown

Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union » ICE Deports Non-Spanish Speaking American Citizen to Mexico

How does a U.S. citizen who has never been to Mexico, speaks no Spanish and shares no Mexican heritage end up being deported there, spending the next four months living on the streets and in the shelters and prisons of Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala?


Our weather forecast for Saturday, which yesterday was "The Most Terrifyingly Fierce Nor'Easter Ever OMG!!!" has now been downgraded to "A Shower."

I am taking this as a good sign.


Dozens charged with largest Medicare scam ever - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK – A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday....

The scheme's scope and sophistication "puts the traditional Mafia to shame," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference.

But not the traditional mortgage industry.



Jobs for everybody

Banks' Foreclosure 'Robo-Signers' Were Hair Stylists, Teens, Walmart Workers: Lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP, Michelle Conlin) -- In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says....

(It gets worse.)

Pierre du Pont:

"His faith in the wisdom of democratically elected governments approximated his faith in dancing pixies.", [DANIEL OKRENT, LAST CALL]

We are touched

Consultants recast candidates from rich to regular - Yahoo! News

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Wearing a smart business suit and a friendly smile, political newcomer Linda McMahon easily sells herself as an entrepreneur who can relate to store owners in a Hispanic business district....

"One of my first jobs, one of my very first jobs was to clerk at a grocery store," recalls the multimillionaire former wrestling executive, now a Republican U.S. Senate candidate....



From the land of unnecessary quotation marks

BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Clinton calls Obama a Croat. Or something.

Clinton, Citing Work With Obama, Urges Unity in Bosnia - NYTimes.com

Mrs. Clinton met with leaders of Muslims, Serbs and Croats on Tuesday in her first trip to Bosnia since the primary battle with Mr. Obama...

[and] spoke of...her work with Mr. Obama as a sign of how former rivals can transcend their differences.


He said this? Really?

Axelrod hopes GOP gains will bring cooperation - CNN.com

Washington (CNN) -- White House senior adviser David Axelrod is looking for a silver lining in expected Democratic losses in November's congressional elections....

"So I'm hoping that with more seats, the Republicans will feel a greater sense of responsibility to work with us to solve some of these problems," he said.



Well, hell, poor people. Duh.

Matthew Yglesias » Why Congress Doesn’t Care About Unemployment




How GM "Lied" About The Electric Car

The Chevy Volt has been hailed as General Motors' electric savior. Now, as GM officially rolls out the Volt this week for public consumption, we're told the much-touted fuel economy was misstated and GM "lied" about the car being all-electric.

No! What?

AccuWeather.com - Weather News | Powerhouse Nor'easter Coming to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston

A storm is forecast to develop and strengthen rapidly affecting tens of millions of people in the Northeast Thursday into Friday night with wind and rain.

Some people may be hit with flooding, wind damage or travel disruptions. A few folks could even be surprised by wet snow.


Bargain day

BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop


Scrapple? Candidates Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons love the 'delicacy' - CSMonitor.com

Republican US Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell worked the crowd of potential voters at the 19th annual Apple Scrapple Festival in rural Delaware. So did Chris Coons, her Democratic rival. And – surprise! – they both claim to love scrapple.

Like the Bidens and slow traffic on I-95, scrapple is a Delaware tradition. For the uninitiated, scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy made of hog byproducts (snout, heart, liver), corn meal, flour, and spices, mixed into a mush and formed into loaves, then sliced off and fried. It’s usually served for breakfast, but scrapple sandwiches make a fine lunch, or so I’m told. Here in Bridgeville, they’ve been making RAPA Scrapple – named for company founders Ralph and Paul Adams – since 1926.

Daffy Duck, however, still expected to win

Obama approval doing better than Reagan, Clinton, according to poll data | Raw Story

Obama approval doing better than Reagan, Clinton, according to poll data

How useless are these comparisons, anyway? And whatever happened to Harry Truman?


Two-Week Party Ends: Oktoberfest Revellers Drank Record 7 Million Liters of Beer - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Visitors to the Munich Oktoberfest this year drank their way into the history books by downing an unprecedented 7 million liters of beer, beating the previous high of 6.94 million reached in 2007, the organizers said. The impressive list of lost items includes a set of dentures....

One hearing aid was also found, as were a leather whip, a live rabbit, a tuba, a ship in a bottle, 1,450 items of clothing, 770 identity cards, 420 wallets, 366 keys, 330 bags and 320 pairs of glasses, 90 cameras and 90 items of jewellery and watches.

A total of 37 children were also lost....

Some 117 oxen were roasted on spits and 59 calves were also devoured, along with many thousands of portions of grilled chicken, sausages and pork knuckles.


And my advice would be, sign up

The Titan and the Pfc. - NYTimes.com

I’d love to teach a course called “Kaufman, Benchley, Thurber, Perelman, Parker, Lardner and, of the Numerous Comic Allens, Fred, and Others You Were Too Dumb to Have Been Born in the Time of 101.”

-Dick Cavett

The Italians always did have good PR

Seriously. Who else could pull off Milan? Cosa Nostra? That whole Pope thing?

Oh yeah, and Columbus Day. Really? Is there a Leif Erikson Day? Well yes, there is - but nobody gets time off from work, which is why I'm so grumpy (yes! I am!). I got up this morning and trudged over to the hospital in the bitter sub-50 cold without breakfast to get my blood tested and there was nobody there. What. Now I have to do it again? OK, but not tomorrow. I'm taking tomorrow off to rest up. Maybe Wednesday. 

Phooey on the whole thing.

What next? He's not a socialist either?

Op-Ed Contributor - Hey, Small Spender - NYTimes.com

Ask yourself: What major new federal programs have started up since Mr. Obama took office? Health care reform, for the most part, hasn’t kicked in yet, so that can’t be it. So are there giant infrastructure projects under way? No. Are there huge new benefits for low-income workers or the poor? No. Where’s all that spending we keep hearing about? It never happened.

(Noted by our Midwest bureau)


And more...

Robert Reich (Why Democrats Should Not Join In Economic Scapegoating)

Deep economic crises are fodder for demagogues who channel economic fear into a politics of resentment against “them.” In the 1930s it was foreign traders (mainly Europeans), immigrants, and Jews. Now it’s foreign traders (mainly the Chinese), immigrants, and Muslims....


Me too

Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: Ending assassination abuse without ending assassination, because that would be crazy

It’s always nice to watch the official “liberal” mind in action. The NYT editorial page today takes up the issue of Obama’s assassination program, intoning Very Seriously that “assassinations are a grave act and subject to abuse”. And if there’s one thing we hate, it’s seeing something noble and pure like assassination being... oh it hurts even to say it... abused.

Evidently Bush committed such abuses, but “So far, President Obama’s system of command seems to have prevented any serious abuses”. The Times doesn’t explain what an unserious abuse in a program of assassinating people might be.

The beauty in not owning a TV

Candidates poised to go ‘nuclear’ with negative ads - BostonHerald.com

The wildest Bay State gubernatorial campaign in decades is on the brink of an epic negative ad war as the candidates head into the homestretch with millions of dollars from deep-pocketed donors eager to sling mud, pollsters and political operatives predict.

“In races that are this close, in the end you just go nuclear,” said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at Cook Political Report, which lists the Massachusetts governor’s race as a toss-up. “You throw what you got as hard as you can and hope for the best.”


If Wagner had written Facebook

Op-Ed Columnist - Lord of the Internet Rings - NYTimes.com

We are always fighting about social status, identity, money, power, turf, control, lust and love. We are always trying to get even, get more and climb higher. And we are always trying to cross the bridge to Valhalla.


Wait, aren't these the guys who rated all those junk mortgage friggin' derivative thingies and damn near blew up the whole world?

S&P: 60% of countries will be bankrupt within 50 years | Raw Story

Some sixty percent of the world's economies will be so in debt by 2060 that their debt will be downgraded to "junk" status, effectively bankrupting the countries, says a report from Standard & Poor's ratings agency...

Now we're supposed to listen to them about something else? Really?

And how's that working out so far?

Government had been warned for months about troubles in mortgage servicer industry

In recent days, amid reports that major lenders have used improper procedures and fraudulent paperwork to seize properties, some Obama administration officials have acknowledged they had been aware of flaws in how the mortgage industry pursues foreclosures.

But the officials said they could take only limited action to address the danger. In part, this was because they wanted lenders' help carrying out federal programs to modify mortgages that had fallen into default or were poised to do so.

Obama has "come through on the foreclosure issue," writes Mike Lux at HuffPo, but no. What Obama has done with his bank-shot veto is the very, absolute least he could do without actually making the foreclosure issue worse, and nothing at all to remedy the situation. Meanwhile the banks are playing for time by suspending some foreclosures for a little while because dude, who remembers BP? (B what? Yeah. That's what I mean.) It'll all blow over, and then we'll be back to business as usual. And meanwhile, the bankers can always buy themselves a few more congressmen next month. Early next month. 

Kissing up to the bankers won't help.

On the frontier of the new economy

Essay - A Stimulus Plan, Disguised as Censorship - NYTimes.com

While destroying a holy book is a desecration, buying 10,000 copies of a war memoir is economic stimulus....

“We’re going to be publishing all kinds of national security secrets,” [publisher] Ms. Lehman said, adding that they might even change the name of the imprint to “Twelve Secrets.”