September 14, 2008

Some people say America wants change. But what makes you think that if there is change, it will be an improvement?

Fortunately, SiteMeter is going back to the status quo, but all that trouble changing could have been avoided. Yet, perhaps we can learn a larger lesson about change, and today's little SiteMeter screw up will have served a purpose.


Palladian said...

There's a difference! SiteMeter offered change but it did not offer Change You Can Believe In™!

Palladian said...

SiteMeter also did not offer Hope™.

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UWS guy said...

SiteMeter was a maverick. In their recklessness they tried to mimic a popular and hip competitor (google) they tried to add "change" to their ticket.

It was a poor substitute and ultimately was rejected by the majority.

UWS guy said...

can't write a gramatikal sentence today.

Peter V. Bella said...

The people who run SiteMeter are hopelessly addicted to Hopium which is why they cannot offer change you can beleive in.

Sprezzatura said...

Yes we must learn that change is bad, status quo is good. That's the American way.

Thanks for the latest addition to a seemingly unending string of brilliant observations.


garage mahal said...

I went to the Superbowl in 96 in San Diego with some friends - most of us didn't have the dough to actually get inside save my boss and his brother who already had tickets, we were there for the party. We left the stadium to the bar to watch the game minus one, Luke, who also didn't have anywhere near the $2000to get in. Telling us confidently he would get inside with his $200 we laughed as we left. Turns out he did get in, finding and bribing a program boy $200, "changing" between the mass of Greyhounds his street clothes with the program boy. For all intents and purposes he may looked like a program boy, but of course only his clothes were changed. That's what I think of John McCain's "change". Two people did spot the phony program boy though- my boss and his brother- as Luke found their seats, tapped them on the shoulder and asked "Program"?.

Simon said...

Amen. "Change" and "progress" are not coterminous.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

UWS Guy: Clever!

George M. Spencer said...

"No outrage, no Obama," says ex-GOP 'eCampaign' director Patrick Ruffin. This comes in an article on how the parties use the internet in The Atlantic, the new issue, the one with the cover photo of McCain taken by the evil photographer.

The article is by associate editor Reihan Salam. He paraphrases Ruffini as saying outrage is the logistical backbone of any political movement, the equivalent of Wal-Mart's supply chain.

The point of the article? Today's GOP lacks the "unifying grievance" necessary to mobilize the party's base to win the Presidential election. The rightroots, according to the author, lag far behind the liberal netroots. "Any success" McCain has on the net now will come too late.

I guess Mr. Salam can just go bite Sarah Palin's ass.

Christy said...

You hated the change
Sitemeter rolled it back
Progress lies elsewhere

section9 said...

All that money that was spent on R&D at Sitemeter got routed to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and, well, you know the ....Rest of the Story.... (...insert Paul Harvey voice here...).

iftheshoefits said...

Funny how many people become instant conservatives (in their demeanor at least, if not their politics) when "change" hits too close to home.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Chip Ahoy said...

Proof of the fallacy of argumentum ad novitam, which, if the argument was taken seriously, would insist upon a complete change in both houses of Congress along with a new president, which is happening automatically and on schedule.

Harwood said...

Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.

-- Albert Einstein

Harwood said...

You know what I really wish Sitemeter would explain: Just how did you people manage to do such a goddamfool thing in the first place? Did you learn anything from pissing on your shoes?

zeek said...

Hate to be a cynic but I'm too old to be naively optimistic. I think most people don't want change. They want what we already have but for it to work better. Given the choice of an electric car or $1 a gallon gas they would opt for what they are used to, the gas.

Ron said...

SiteMeter went hunting The Moose of Change, but without Palin wound up being bit by the past 8 years of Bullwinkle J. Bush.

TWM said...

Given the choice of an electric car or $1 a gallon gas they would opt for what they are used to, the gas.

Because the annoying whine of an electric car will never match the beautiful roar of a V-8. Or the amusing putt-putt of an old VW for that matter.

Synova said...

There are respects in which McCain is the same old game.

There are respects in which Obama is the same old game.

That's why one can reasonably call himself Republican and the other can reasonably call himself Democrat.

ricpic said...


Who wants change?
Can change improve a picnic under the trees on a summer Sunday afternoon?
With the children racing around as you lift the glass of dark red wine to your lips?
Leave The People to their simple pleasures
That are eternal and unchanging and do not need to be improved!
Go away, agent(s) of change.
Go work your magic somewhere else.

Palladian said...

"I guess Mr. Salam can just go bite Sarah Palin's ass."

Reihan Salam used to be the "editor" of Andrew Sullivan's "letters" when he ran his blog independently. He evidently learned his craft at Sullivan's knee.

Ron said...

Because the annoying whine of an electric car will never match the beautiful roar of a V-8. Or the amusing putt-putt of an old VW for that matter.

Now, now...I, for one, welcome Reddy Kilowatt, our new Electrical Overlord!

Christy said...

My earlier post was suposed to be a haiku, but for some bizarre reason I thought I had 6 fingers on one hand.

Anyhow, youth pushes for change. Age resists it. The more energetic youth moves forward with age keeping them grounded and balanced. Unfortunately, the generation that vowed never to grow up didn't and the balance is off. Our cultural chakra is all wrong.

Unknown said...

Gosh, I'm so tired of divisive exchange,
And I've got one or two things to say about change.
Like the change we must change and the change we hold dear,
I really llike change. Have I made myself clear?

chuck b. said...


Alex said...

Like the great Rudy G said at the convention, change for change's sake isn't the thing to go for. It's the nature of the change that matters. Come on Rudy, bring home NY state to the GOP!

chickelit said...

Ann said: Some people say America wants change. But what makes you think that if there is change, it will be an improvement?

Easy change is always downhill. Any real improvement requires effort. That's just how nature works.

chickelit said...

Spoke with a lots of Wisconsin kin this weekend. I think the state will turn red this coming week.

Henry said...

If Obama promised to fix Sitemeter, make it new and better, would you believe him?

What if just promised to fix the health care system?

George M. Spencer said...


Excellent inside baseball on the Salam thing.

Alex said...

I keep reading on leftist blogs that they're just not mean enough to Republicans. They're too nice. That Republicans are just such nasty, vile people and they never respond in kind.

ricpic said...

If we could roll back time...

I'd like that as long as it was done NOT to the sound of Cher's voice.

Alex said...

BTW, Tina Fey did Not do Palin's accent well at all. also the whole skit was horribly biased against Palin. I think Sarah was just being gracious by saying she thought it was funny.

miller said...

As long as they keep talking about Palin.

That kills any attempt of Bambi/Biden to get their 147th "this time we mean it change" message across.

TWM said...

The change that appears to be coming is a lot of blue states turning red. And, yes, it will be an improvement.

Chip Ahoy said...

Alex, really? I'm surprised to read that. I thought Fey nailed Palin's accent. I found the whole skit hilarious. It makes me more fond all four women. Fay goofing, pantomiming a rifle and flirting while Poelher was talking was hilarious.

miller said...

Several times now (Dennis Miller, and now SNL) I've been seeing that people realize that Bambi just can't get Sarah out of his head. That woman is everywhere, stealing his limelight.

Must be driving him crazy.

Baronger said...

People like generic change

Once they know the specifics they are against it.

Simon said...

Alex, Chip - count me among the pro-Fey folks. I don't know if the accent was good, but while it was sharp-elbowed, it was funny. Fey is well-suited to play Palin, I think, because they share in common an innate ability to twist the knife while appearing likable.

Once written, twice... said...

I am really surprised that Ann Althouse has not posted one entry over this past year about the financial crisis that has been gaining steam. Ann, like McCain, do you just not know much about the economy?

It will surely be looked back on as being the most important story of the year.

I suspect McCain won't be able to over come this pressing issue that is diminishing the Republican brand. Though, you can see that he is doing his level best in his most recent commercials. They are the ones that separates himself from the Republican economic program of the past decade.

Joe said...

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strain)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

Anonymous said...

It will surely be looked back on as being the most important story of the year.

Just like Enron, the story of the century -- bigger than 9/11 according to Paul Krugman. How did the country survive? How will we ever make it if Lehman Brothers can't pay its creditors?

We're all doomed, Lee, because I can assure you that McCain will win.

Unknown said...

Ann said: Some people say America wants change. But what makes you think that if there is change, it will be an improvement?

If Obama is elected our government will be much further to the left than anytime in American history.

The press will provide all the cover that Obama and the Democrat Congress want.

A politico-ideological bloodbath will ensue under that cover as the left seeks to remake American democracy in their image.

Change? Oh God yes.
Improvement? Not a chance.

Anonymous said...

politico-ideological bloodbath

This is silly. What does this metaphor even mean?

XWL said...

So, how would you go about making government as responsive to its users and critics in the wake of a major foul-up?

(and would that be a good idea?)

Once written, twice... said...

Well Seven Machoes time will quickly tell. Fannie and Freddie came apart last weekend. Lehman this weekend. Did you see Greenspan, a man not know for bold statements (and surely partially to blame for this mess) say on national TV this morning that this is the biggest crisis of the past century? I predict you will be eating your hat by mid-October.

Once written, twice... said...

correction-Greenspan said financial crisis

DaLawGiver said...

Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, let them all go down the tube. Got a loan you can't afford? I don't have much sympathy for you either. I never owned my own home until I was 40. I never owned a new car until I was 38. You can't afford it? Don't buy it. It's called personal responsibility. Banks get too greedy and make bad decisions? Too bad. If you worked for Lehman Brothers and made a clerical error that cost them $10,000 they would cut you loose without as much as a good-bye. No more tax payer bailout for any of that crap.

Anonymous said...

This would only be the biggest crisis of the past century if the government did a bunch of stupid shit like raising taxes, erecting trade barriers, and making credit harder to get. That was the recipe for the Great Depression.

I add that two of those policies are definitely Barrack Obama's. Surely he's not stupid enough for the third.

DaLawGiver said...

Hummm, gold seems to be on the way back up.

Unknown said...

Yeah, looks like I'm gonna be a BofA customer soon. To be honest feels safer that way.

Interestingly, that JibJab link I posted in my last comment has a cameo by Sarah Palin in it---and it was put out well before she was picked. So the next time you hear someone say she wasn't on anyone's radar....

Peter V. Bella said...

Lawgiver said...
Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, let them all go down the tube. Got a loan you can't afford? I don't have much sympathy for you either. I never owned my own home until I was 40. I never owned a new car until I was 38. You can't afford it? Don't buy it. It's called personal responsibility.

Did you say personal responsibility? Let me give you some advice. Terms such as personal responsibility, self reliance, self determination, and individualism have been deemed treasonous by those on the left. We are supposed to embrace and celebrate reliance on government, income equality (what ever the fuck that is), and universal government benefits for every conceivable ill. Get with the program. The progressives are dusting off the old FDR internment camp plans for people like you.

Anonymous said...

All this over-the-top talk on both sides is really odd and disconcerting.

garage mahal said...

Fiscal conservatives.

Nice crisp and easy to read left-to-right picture even Peter Bella should be able to understand. Should.

DaLawGiver said...

All this over-the-top talk on both sides is really odd and disconcerting.

I don't see it as odd at all. America has always had people with extreme views, the internet just makes it easier for them to collide.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is what both sides claim would happen if the other side wins. I just find it hard to believe that people get themselves worked up in a lather about two candidates who, at the end of the day, agree about so much. That's not a knock on McCain or Obama, either. It's the same deal every election, and it's a tremendously good thing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yes Ann. Change isn't always good. I once was talked into having my hair dyed a reddish burgundy color that in the sun looked psychedelic. That was change that I could really do without. Fortunately it was a reversible change that affected just me. I think taking novelty and change as a national policy is extremely dangerous. Not as bad as my hair colour but dangerous nevertheless :-)

Change for the sake of change ....only..... with no regard for the consequences is really really wrong.

DaLawGiver said...


I agree, except I don't think it's a good thing.

And I also agree with Garage when he previously stated the only real difference either of them will make is deciding who gets nominated to the supreme court. But that's about the only thing I agree with him about.

Anonymous said...

Foreign policy and taxes and pork.

Three great reasons to vote for McCain and Republicans that have nothing to do with the Supreme Court.

DaLawGiver said...


If you don't mind please email me your realm and toon at I'd like to check out your gear and guild. I will respond in kind.

Can't wait till WoTLK!

DaLawGiver said...

You are right on the first two. I think pork will be around for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

So will foreign policy and taxes.

Federal spending cuts would accomplish quite a bit, even temporarily. Also, that's no way to think. Think porkless, you can be porkless.

Gahrie said...

I'm on Draenor and my Toon is Gahrie if anyone cares.

Palladian said...

"Think porkless, you can be porkless."

Only if you vote for Joe Lieberman.

Cedarford said...

Seven Machos said...
This would only be the biggest crisis of the past century if the government did a bunch of stupid shit like raising taxes, erecting trade barriers, and making credit harder to get. That was the recipe for the Great Depression.

It's a little more complicated...and tired analogies to events 75 years ago in a different time and a different world economic system are stupid.

Part of the premise of the corporatists and their eager whores in both the Democrat and Republican Party was that Globalization and instant information transmission would allow free flow of capital and high tech once jealously guarded by nations to the cheapest labor supply. Which would in turn enrich everybody and create scads of good new jobs in post-industrial America. Notably in sectors like finance, high-tech, building houses for all the clerks at ChinaMart on their magic bank credit loans, and white collar jobs.
Oh, and the latest spiel is how "amazing American creativity" will prop up our standard of living.

It hasn't worked.
We have lost a great deal of good manufacturing, high tech, and white collar jobs with 800 million skilled 3rd worlders wanting each job in America open to outsourcing - which is most of them outside lawyers, government workers, farmers and security people.

Collapse of financial institutions will drive capital to more resonsible institutions in London, Dubai, Zurich, and Tokyo. With nations that export successfully having the additional clout of sovereign wealth funds..reserved for competitive nations - not the USA which is now the greatest debtor nation in history. With 500 billion Federal Gov't deficits, a trillion dollar annual trade deficit, and 42 trillion in unfunded Medicare and SS debt. A per capita debt that dwarfs anything Europe faces.

And collapse of the financial industry in the US meand the collapse of housing jobs and housing prices. Credit will be harder to get, because banks and their investors are now being destroyed by imprudent housing loans.

With more amd more good paying jobs for the middle class going away, including the new wave where free trade is thought to eventually cost us 30 million white collar jobs - That leaves only the well-off as a source of taxes...and will necessitate raising their tax burden.

Because the labor cost advantage is so pronounced, and surplus labor approaches 1.5 billion underemployed or unemployed people in the 2nd and 3rd World, free trade will continue to rape America of wealth and jobs.

Change must happen.

America will either be in control somewhat of repairing the failed economic dogmas of Republicans and to a lesser extent Democrats - or we will only act in response to unavoidable crisis after crisis.

Unrestricted free trade, tax cuts for the wealthy, an admission that supply side and "trickledown" are voodoo lies, and destabilize fiscal structures so two burger flippers can buy a 300K house will likely all have to be abandoned.

Same with the pretense that we can blow 250 billion a year on military adventures to spread "freedom!" indefinitely.

The bogus promise of exciting new great-paying high tech and green jobs right around the corner has to be put to a reality test. Just as the fantasy that we may lose our white collar and manufacturing base, but somehow maintain our standard of living if 500 or so Americans are so creative they get a small piece of the value of stuff China manufactures and services India and 20 other countries are working on to shift those jobs out of America.

Change is coming to America. The next 20 years looks brutal to correct the huge mistakes of Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II's economic policies.

Best they come voluntary, not in dire crisis - and not by a military takeover if both Parties don't get their shit together and toss the corporatist and special interest whores by the wayside.

Joe said...

Unfortunately, Clinton's surplus was due to terrible policies by Greenspan which greatly helped to create and perpetuate an overheated bubble economy that had to correct (especially since it was based largely on fiction.)

The single most disastrous event that greatly contributed to problems today was the Greenspan sponsored bailout of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. It sent a disastrous message to Wall Street that extremely risky investments were okay since the federal government would come to the rescue.

Add to that the continuous push by congress to greatly relax home loan rules which included reducing regulatory authority over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Many of us were making these same criticisms in the late 90s, only to be told the stock market would go up forever and we had nothing to worry about.

Even worse, instead of using the budget surpluses to pay down the deficit, congress went crazy, led by turncoat, greedy Republicans who couldn't dip their hands into the public till fast enough. The only thing slowing them down were all the Democrats already in there.

Clinton did do a few things that helped (the massive welfare reform act and his open trade policies) but like other politicians, he was too addicted to the euphoria of the moment to see that Greenspan was out of control.

Letting Lehman fail is one of the best things the government has done in months. Let's just hope they have the guts to not step in. (Unfortunately, the senators and representatives that kept pushing lenders to make riskier and riskier home loans and who pointedly refused to tighten FHA regulations won't be held accountable.)

DaLawGiver said...

No, I'm got a pessimistic streak in me along with a dash of Libertarian wishfulness. Give me a line item veto, flat tax, and limit the amount of lawyers in Congress to 15% of the total number of legislators. Abolish the Dept of Education, Department of Agriculture, and the Postal Service. Get our troops out of Germany, England, most of Japan, and Korea. Reinstate some sort of mandatory draft or public service for every man and women when they turn 18. These are a few of my favorite things. They aren't gonna happen either :)

But I'm definitely not as pessimistic as cedarford!

DaLawGiver said...


You have a large guild. Ours is about 80 at this moment. We split from another guild recently. Same old drama bs. Erla Drenden.

Anonymous said...

No question, Lieberman would be a step back to the Dark Ages as far as bacon is concerned.

Palladian said...

Cedarford's entire post can be summarized in four words: It's the Jews' fault. With the Cedarford Economic Plan you get both a financial solution and a final solution all rolled into one.

Stuff that in your salami and smoke it, you filthy Nazi.

Joe said...

Don't forget to rewrite the fourteenth amendment, making it so senators are appointed by state legislatures.

Simplify the tax code to the point where you can file your return on a 3x5 card. (Get rid of home mortgage deductions on all but a single mortgage on a primary residence [I actually want to get rid of all of them, but that would get too many innumerate people upset].)

Slash federal spending to the bone. Start with the department of education. Farm subsidies next.

We do need to reduce overseas deployments, though keeping Iraq more or less stable is important. Afghanistan, however, is a total waste of time and money. Every occupying force has discovered that. Our sole goal should be to make sure they don't export terrorism--periodic carpet bombing and special forces would help in that department.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read Cedarford's posts, though I did happen to see him blaming "Jewish scientists" the other day. I take Palladian's word, though.

So fuck you, Cedarford, you dirty anti-Semite. Go back to Aryan Nation where you belong.

Palladian said...

The success of the Republican party involves Republicans being willing to toss out its loonies in a way that the Democratic party hasn't or won't.

Joe said...

Simon said...

Seven Machos said...
"Federal spending cuts would accomplish quite a bit, even temporarily."

Granted, but this is one thing that Palin (if her second interview was fairly edited, which I'm sure it was not) perhaps got wrong. Gibson asked her if entitlement spending was on the table, and although I seem to recall that he got the wrong number on entitlement-vs-discretionary spending, he isn't fundamentally wrong: we cannot fix this country unless reform (which is a polite way of saying elimination) of entitlement spending is in the table. Palin is correct that they will find efficiencies and that they can cut discretionary spending, but at the end of the day, we either cut down entitlement spending or face a gloomy future - a gloomy future that this President made worse when he forced through Medicare Part D.

Joe said...

The above is a link to the article: "How Washington Failed to Rein In Fannie, Freddie"

I found this AFTER I wrote my above rant.

Jeff Faria said...

What's the difference between Obama and Site Meter?

Site Meter doesn't have a hate on for Sarah Palin. They are not threatened by her feminine might and Alaskan chutzpah. In fact, they love her for the 'net traffic she drives.

Also, they actually produce something useful, and therefore they were missed when they 'went away' for awhile.

By contrast, what happens when Obama goes away? Well, how often do you find yourself wondering about Mike Dukakis? Same thing.

Palladian said...

Umm, Joe? I opened your link... is it just me or does the man in the photograph have reptilian vertical pupils?

Um, I'm kind of freaked out...

Anonymous said...

Reptilian vertical pupils? A Jew, no doubt.

vbspurs said...

I'm back, and happy to see Site Metre have come to their senses. Huzzah!

And now this public service announcement:

My friends, please do not see the remake of the classic Anita Loos' play/film "The Women".

My friends, real friends don't let friends watch bad remakes.

I just went through 2 hours of the most unbelievable torture, my friends. I have stared pure evil in the face, and it's not pretty. But, with my help, my friends, we will pull through this time, and we will win.

So fight with me! Fight against this film! Stand up! Walk out! Make others in the audience ask for their money back! Fight fight fight!!

I am really pissed off right now, like some pitbull wearing lipstick, and I approve this message.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Althouse not blogging about the economy, when you have a tenured university position you don't have to worry about other people losing their jobs. Your job will be secure no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Althouse's job could easily be outsourced to civ pro professors in India.

Eric said...

I am really surprised that Ann Althouse has not posted one entry over this past year about the financial crisis that has been gaining steam. Ann, like McCain, do you just not know much about the economy?

Why is it there's always a commenter who thinks the lack of a post is proof of... something. Maybe she's just not interested, or doesn't think her readers will be. Why don't you get your own blog?

Oh, and I wouldn't worry too much about damage to the Republican brand. Why don't you take a look at the scandal that's gonna dwarf all the others: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When voters finally realize what went on and who's at fault Democrats will be lucky to hold on to enough senators for a filibuster.

Once written, twice... said...

First Seven Machos assures us there is no financial crisis. Now Eric assures us the voters will blame it all on the Democrats. It must be really nice to live in a fantasy world...

Also, another big shoe dropped late tonight. Merrill Lynch is no more. "Crisis! What financial crisis?!?"-Seven Machos

Once written, twice... said...

McCain will rue the day that he allowed insipid slogans like "Drill Baby Drill" to take over his campaign. It is sad to see a good man sell his soul no matter how big the prize...

Sprezzatura said...


You're very misguided. You only know what the generalized media and right wing corporation-apologists tell you.

Sure Fannie and Freddie are problematic.

But, they're not the origin of the problems; they're caught up in the wake of subprime and alt-a imploding. With subprime and alt-a undermining housing values, even prime products will start to fall apart. And, it is true that Freddie and Fannie were political power houses in DC. But, let's not forget that subprime came to exist because there were a lot of folks who didn't qualify for prime, where prime is Fannie and Freddie. Another core problem are the alt-a products that are blowing up. As with sub-prime, these products were created to go where Fannie and Freddie wouldn't go.

And, Lehman was all over the creation and dissemination of these products. And, buying SIB (well after cracks in the system were showing) didn't help.

The real problem is that we have let corporations liquidate a lot of our knowledge, production, and capital base. Then, we replaced real stuff with unregulated flim flam products and instruments.

This is what happens when you live with an economy increasingly supported by unregulated paper shuffling, rather than actual capital.

P.S. You also know nothing about LTCM. Read "Inventing Money," this is my favorite LTCM book.


That position of indifference does explains a lot in this particular case.

But, there are others, with even more personal comfort and stability, who do care about the big picture.


You're such a fool.

I derive great joy from the likelihood that you think you're well informed. That's good stuff. Could you please extend your musings? Maybe some of your fellow right wing buddies could fill in if you're unavailable.

Alex said...

I think Fannie & Freddie are too complicated for the average voter to understand WHO to pin the blame on. It will be a wash in the election. This election comes down to 2 things:

* family values
* national defense

blake said...

So the gov't sets up pseudo-private businesses, pushes the whole subprime thing...and the problem is not enough regulation?

Anonymous said...

No doubt, Americans are going to react negatively to anyone who wants to lower energy prices. Surely, this factor alone explains why McCain is losing.

Jim said...

What I find most amusing about liberal commenters like l.e.lee is how they bemoan John McCain's transformation from a "once good man" into some sort of Republican boogie man.

They loved him when he was a thorn in the side of the Bush administration on many issues. When there were rumors flying about how he was going to switch parties (despite his denials that he was ever even considering it), they'd say "There's the one good Republican" solely because the enemy of their enemy was their friend and what a coup it would be to get him to switch sides.

But now that they have a Messiah, then all who stand opposed to Him are evil and must be destroyed. So to square the circle, they must mourn the loss of the man they "knew." Much like Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and all the other people under Obama's bus McCain is no longer the "McCain they knew." Under the bus he goes because he stands between them and the Promised Land.

It is one of the most intellectually dishonest movements of this election season, but intellectual dishonesty is the only real explanation for the contortions required to claim that Obama is any way qualified for the job to which he aspires, so I guess it's not such a big surprise after all.

And these are the people who are so fond of claiming that they are the intellectual and cultural superiors to the rest of us "bitter religion and gun clingers"...

Jim said...

alex -

If McCain is smart, then Freddie and Fannie become remarkably simple:

- Barack Obama was one of the top recipients of lobbying money from these two organizations (topped only by Chris Dodd, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton).
- He has 2 former CEOs on his staff. He's already thrown one under the bus (Jim Johnson), but the other remains there.
- Combine the Countrywide collapse (which Jim Johnson had an integral part of) and that of Freddie and Fannie.
- Add to that the fact that Joe Biden is often referred as the "Senator from MBNA" because of his long-term history of introducing and pushing legislation that benefits one of the largest credit-card issuers in the country.

With some refinement from his evidently very skilled ad people, and I think you have the makings of a very powerful narrative which puts the current financial troubles squarely in the lap of the Obama/Biden ticket (and their cohorts in the Democratic party).

Sprezzatura said...


That's really embarrassing. You don't even know the most basic facts about the origin and growth of subprime and alt-A.

You need training wheels (and then a lot more) before you can be taken remotely seriously.


P.S. I have a very high level of expertise in this field. I know this business from the inside. As a result, all of you right wing folks sound moronic to me. I came to see the deceit that underpins Rs and corporate America about three years ago when I started hearing professional conservatives and the financial media talking about this subject.

You suckers on the street level of our economy will never get it. To be fair, I never would have either, if I wasn't blessed to personally see how things really work. It's so sad to see you unknowingly cheer leading the lowering of your own opportunities.


Anonymous said...

But, let's not forget that subprime came to exist because there were a lot of folks who didn't qualify for prime, where prime is Fannie and Freddie.

Not true at all. One of the biggest buyers of Countrywide subprime mortgages was Fannie Mae. In fact, without Fannie's willingness to buy Countrywide mortgages, the subprime debacle would not have been as big as it is today.

Also, a couple weeks ago, I received a telemarketing call from Fannie Mae. The call was promoting mortgages and they stated such loans were available for those with no credit or poor credit. In other words, Fannie Mae was pursuing subprime mortgages even while they were imploding.

Fannie and Freddie are neck deep in subprime mortgages. They are part of the problem.

Eric said...

Oh yes, I'm such a fool I did a little digging into the money:

Top Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

Name Office Party/State Total

1. Dodd, Christopher J S D-CT $133,900

2. Kerry, John S D-MA $111,000

3. Obama, Barack S D-IL $105,849

4. Clinton, Hillary S D-NY $75,550

5. Kanjorski, Paul E H D-PA $65,500

No Republicans in the top five. Here we have a quasi-governmental organization obeying its own set of rules, abetted by top Democrats, taking some of its ill-gotten gains to make sure it can keep operating without having to waste time on little details, like, you know, financial statements. No scandal there, huh?

Eric said...

1jpb, with all due respect to your imaginary knowledge, I don't think unemployment in your mother's basement qualifies you as an expert on financial scandals.

Sprezzatura said...


I have first hand experience with many of these companies.

I can assure you that everyone, including CW sold prime stuff to Fannie and Freddie. But, not subprime. Subprime is by definition not acceptable for Fannie and Freddie, that's what makes it "sub."


How about VP of a bank?

Anonymous said...

You are incorrect 1jpb.

Here is a key paragraph from the May 6th edition of the NY Times:

To keep profits aloft and meet affordable-housing goals set by Congress, the companies began buying huge numbers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, the highly profitable loans often taken out by low-income and riskier borrowers. By the end of last year, the companies had guaranteed or invested in $717 billion of subprime and Alt-A loans, up from almost none in 2000.

Full article is here.

Also, Barry Ritholz at The Big Picture has some Fannie Mae specific information here.

At the time of that post, Fannie alone had $51 billion in subprime and $344 billion in Alt-A mortgages on the books.

Gary Rosen said...

Hey, C-fudd, one of your drooling savage Islamofascist JO buddies needs to borrow your copy of Dale Carnegie:

Eric said...

How about VP of a bank?

Sorry, still don't believe you. This little bit of pseudo-Marxist drivel gave you away:

The real problem is that we have let corporations liquidate a lot of our knowledge, production, and capital base. Then, we replaced real stuff with unregulated flim flam products and instruments.

While it's true it all hit the fan as a result of subprime mortgage problems, Fannie and Freddie were already rotten to the core before the first loan failed.

Eric said...

Whoa, you didn't know Fannie hoovered up all the subprime paper? You might be an econ major. A freshman.

blake said...


You know, the civil response to ignorance is education, as others have tried to do with your apparent misapprehensions.

Anonymous said...

From Fannie Mae's 10-Q report filed with the SEC in August, emphasis added:

Increases in our default and initial charge-off severity rates are both driven primarily by losses on our Alt-A loans in markets most affected by the steep home price declines. The deterioration in the credit performance of our higher risk loans is especially pronounced in our Alt-A mortgage book, with particular pressure on loans with layered risk, such as loans with subordinate financing and interest-only payment terms. As of June 30, 2008, our Alt-A mortgage loans represented approximately 11% of our total single-family mortgage credit book of business, and accounted for 49% of our credit losses for the second quarter of 2008.

Anonymous said...

Then there is this, also from the 10-Q:

Certain higher risk loan types, such as Alt-A loans, interest-only loans, loans to borrowers with low credit scores and loans with high loan-to-value (“LTV”) ratios, many of which were originated in 2006 and 2007, represented approximately 29% of our single-family conventional mortgage credit book of business as of June 30, 2008, but accounted for approximately 72% and 70% of our credit losses for the second quarter and first six months of 2008, respectively, compared with 52% and 51% for the second quarter and first six months of 2007, respectively.

Sprezzatura said...


The so called "subprime" and "alt-A" loans that Fannie and Freddie own are VERY different than the really low credit, no doc, neg-AM, no down, or investor (non-owner occupied) stuff that caused this market to start falling apart.

Even at their loosest, they don't take the junk. I have personally sold loans to Fannie and Freddie and CW and IndyMac and SIB and Lehman and a bunch others. I can absolutely assure you that Fannie and Freddie were not moving the real junk. What Fannie and Freddie would accept as "subprime" and "alt-A" would have been greeted with the widest possible open arms at CW, Indymac, and others. But, what all these others would do for subprime and alt-A would bounce out of Fannie and Freddie faster than you can say "bounce."

Those loans described in the 10-Q are not close to the scary stuff that exists (neg-Am, no down, no doc.) And, their definition of low credit is relative. Their low credit is the same as decent credit for a real subprime lender.

Those 10-Qs prove my point. They show that Fannie and Freddie are having problems with relatively mild loans. So, you can understand what happened with the really scary stuff. And, it was the scary stuff that put the ball on the top of the hill, and then that stuff pushed the ball down the hill. And, somewhere during the fall the GSEs were caught up--especially since they were trying to soak up some of the wreckage left by the imploding subprime and alt-A lenders over the last couple of years.

If Fannie called you and wanted to give you access to loans, as you claim, you should accept. You can start your own bank (with collateral and know how), because you'll be able to sell to Fannie. Fannie doesn't deal with borrowers directly, so you should ignore any future calls along those lines.


Fannie and Freddie are not the original source of the problem. It was the NON-Fannie/Freddie products. The lack of regulation resulted in insane products that were bundled and sold to non-Fannie/Freddie investors.

And, the loose money associated with the government has always been from the Rural/FHA/VA programs. These are called "government loans." They're paperwork hassles, but they're looser than the GSEs, and they're less expensive the true (non GSE) subprime stuff.

And, you should know that many banks like Fannie and Freddie, because the GSEs created liquidity and lowered risk. If you despise Fannie and Freddie, you should have equal concern for much of our banking system.

And, since it didn't sink in, I'll repeat my first statement: Fannie and Freddie are problematic. And, I already noted that they used their political connections. So I'm not an apologist.

Even so, they were NOT the source of the wild loans. It was a lack of regulation and greedy folks that allowed the really nutty stuff outside of Fannie and Freddie.

Cedarford said...

Palladian said...
Cedarford's entire post can be summarized in four words: It's the Jews' fault. With the Cedarford Economic Plan you get both a financial solution and a final solution all rolled into one.

Stuff that in your salami and smoke it, you filthy Nazi.

Palladian contributes!

1. Gnaws on meat pipe.
2. Takes his mouth off meat pipe to scream "It's all about the Joooos, you filthy Nazi!"
3. Resumes gnawing on some teen's meatpipe.

NO, Palladian, it is about 30 years of disastrous economic & financial policies and the purchase of Congressional whores in both Parties to enable it.

NO where in my post did I blame the horrific situation America is now in on the "Jooooos" - though if one is to be honest, historians looking at the causes of the rapid decline of America in the begining of the 21st century and the Rise of China will of course find Jews had a disproportionate impact beyond their actual numbers in the population on:

1. Sleazy financial practices on Wall Street.
2. Supply-side policies, crazy free trade deals, outsourcing to unlimited cheap labor that only rewarded the very wealthy and temporarily - ChinaMart consumers - that left the citizenry soaked in debt and the base of our once dominant technical, scientific, engineering, and skilled manufacturing job workers destroyed.
3. Heavy real estate speculation.
4. Ruinous Fed policy.

But suck away Palladian and worry not. Plenty of blame to go around.

America faces a declining standard of living long-term...and in the short term:

a. Knowledge that NYC is likely finished as the global capital center. London will now dominate.

b. Knowledge that BOTH Parties and the Courts became whores to the fatcats and failed the citizenry
utterly. Creating an uncompetive America awash is debt. With American's job security being lost to the cheap labor pouring in across Open Borders and jobs being sucked away to cheaper labor markets in authoritarian capitalist countries.
This will shatter a considerable part of America's confidence in our political system, and the economy as consumers bunker down. Causing a new round of job losses.

3. An end to America's overseas "wars of liberation". Major job cutbacks in lacal, state, and Federal Gov't may have to be made.

4. Substantial additional losses in the value of the dollar.

OK, Palladian. Now you may resume salami-smoking and thinking it's all a manifestation of global anti-Semitism.

Roger J. said...

interesting stuff here on the banking system, which I freely admit, I know nothing about. This is why I am glad to have no TV. You simply cannot get this kind of information from national media. While there may be a bit of excessive vituperation, the underlying information is fascinating. I appreciate the interaction.

Fen said...

1jpb: I have a very high level of expertise in this field. I know this business from the inside. As a result, all of you right wing folks sound moronic to me.

Isn't it funny how Democrats always feel the need to assert that they are more intelligent.

Its like they have small penis syndrome or something; "Hey baby, I'm hung like a horse. No really."

In contrast, you'll never hear peeps like Simon make such boasts - there's no need, because they demonstrate their superior intelligence daily.

Anonymous said...


Freddie and Fannie bought the same crap that brought down Countrywide and other mortgage brokers. To say that their Subprime and Alt-A was better than the others is simply ludicrous.

The mortgages you sold to them may have been prime, but that doesn't mean they only bought prime, which obviously they didn't.

By purchasing subprime and Alt-A mortgages from the likes of Countrywide, Fannie and Freddie provided those companies the capital they needed to make more subprime and Alt-A loans. Fannie and Freddie added to the problem.

Everyone in the finance industry knows and admits that Fannie and Freddie bought junk, you should accept reality, too.

Cedarford said...

Bottom line, the US Government is broken, and whored out to the special interests. No one in gov't is accountable, and the Courts have ensured the Executive cannot act as a check on what a corrupted Congress does by saying the line item veto is unconstitutional and Congress folding all earmarks and pork into Omnibus Spending Bills that cannot be vetoed without shutting down government, stopping entitlement checks, or cutting off funding for deployed troops.

And private markets have thrown out all ethics and fiscal prudency and a long-term view for speculation and a 3-month outlook.

For 30 years we have been unable to confront the great intergenerational problems that have only grown more acute. As courts paralyze and stall action, and action is perverted or blocked by the "money people" and block vote group "power brokers" on K-Street.

30 years ago, China was a pitiful economic shell - now people say that it may be only China that can keep America wastrel debt ways afloat.

This seems to argue that the American system, including the Holy Parchment Itself, the Constitution, are in urgent need of drastic reform....even a Revolution.

Both political Parties and the Courts have failed to work adequately over the last 30 years. And all have been corrupted and negligent in oversight. As have career civil service, which has surrendered, for the most part, it's independent oversight role for the lucrative "revolving door".

Perhaps we have to go with a new Party? Perhaps a suspension in failed democracy if the crisis intensifies? A stint with successful authoritarian capitalism? One thing is obvious - a fat, dumb, and happy American public indoctrinated to worship our system and its Holy Old Constitution may rapidly become apostates if their lives, standard of living, and children's future is wrecked by the thirty years of accumulating failure in numerous critical parts of the American economy, legal, and political systems....

Back to banks:

The takeover of Merrill leaves just two large independent investment banks in America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. But this weekend’s events cast a shadow over the standalone model, with its reliance on leverage and skittish wholesale funding.

More shattering bank and insurer failures await. Washington Mutual, a big thrift, is fighting for survival under a new boss. Even more worryingly, so is AIG, America’s largest insurer, thanks to a reckless foray into CDS of mortgage-linked collateralised-debt obligations.

Other major insurers are in danger of their necks going on the chopping blocks and major investors in those insurance companies, like pension funds, are in contact with the Chinese sovereign wealth fund seeking bail-out. Of 10,000 banks, most are solid. It is the ones that overinvested in hot real estate markets, those also in mortgage reseller trade, a by far not insubstantial number - that may also have to move their huge mortgage liabilities into the red on statements.

AIG appears to be the next American institution ready to collapse.

Then various new banks on or off investor's radar screens will pop up with long-feared or even shocking news that they are going belly-up - and it looks like the Federal Gov't cannot afford new bailouts without huge tax increases..

As bank failures loom, investment advisors are telling clients not to keep more than 100,000 in any bank account. The excess is NOT protected. And the risk of losing it in bank failures is thought to be the highest since the Great Depression. But fiduciary brokerage accounts like Fidelity and Vanguard are safe.

Henry said...

I just finished reading Barbarians at the Gate, about the worst financial crisis of the past century. Until the current one, I guess. And not counting the great depression, I would hope.

Anyway, my sympathy for Wall Street Bankers is not very deep. If some of them go down or get sold off, fine. Others will take their place.

I'm also not very assured that closing down one line of cheap, high-risk, credit will close down all lines of cheap, high-risk credit. One decade it's junk bonds; another its mortgages.

There are two changes the government can and should make. One is to continue to force transparency upon the system. Second is to simplify the tax and regulatory structures that create loopholes and perverse incentives.

But tinkering with the internals of the machine to create specific outcomes will create as many problems as it solves.

Bailing out speculators -- even sympathetic mom and pop speculators -- will subsidize and encourage more speculation.

Anyone remember Black Monday -- October 19, 1987? I had forgotten about Black Monday until I read the book I mention above.

Then I remembered how everyone in government and finance peed their pants for a month. If Paul Krugman had been writing New York Times editorials at the times, he would have called it a bigger deal than the fall of the Soviet Union.

Now Black Monday is just a footnote.

One thing that people don't get their heads around very easily is that the U.S. economy is really, really, really big. And in such an entrepreneurial society, a century is a really, really long time.

So government and finance can go ahead and panic. The politicians can talk about change. But the harrow of change is never under their control.

knox said...

Hey, no one's allowed to use "change" but Barack.

Sprezzatura said...


I can easily blow apart you assertion that the GSEs dealt in the real junk.

1) What do the original problem subprime loans have in common: they're short fixed period ARMs. How many of these did the GSEs do?

2) What is a quintessential problematic alt-A loan: neg-am. How many of these did the GSEs do?

You don't seem to understand that all the companies that offered risky loans, needed non-GSE investors to fund the scary stuff at the same time the more tame loans went to the GSEs. This isn't debatable.

I'm not speculating. I'm telling you how it works.

Anonymous said...

1) What do the original problem subprime loans have in common: they're short fixed period ARMs. How many of these did the GSEs do?

Fannie had just under $60 billion as of June 30, 2008.

Single Family
Long-term Fixed: $191 billion
Intermediate-term Fixed: $44 billion
Adjustable: $43.7 billion

Long-term Fixed: $5.5 billion
Intermediate-term Fixed: $83 billion
Adjustable: $16 billion

Fannie also increased its exposure to adjustable rate mortgages by investing hundreds of billions in Mortgage Backed Securities issued by other companies.

2) What is a quintessential problematic alt-A loan: neg-am. How many of these did the GSEs do?

Don't know the exact number, but Fannie says the losses in that area are growing quickly.

In addition, we continued to experience significant increases in the serious delinquency rates in some higher risk loan categories: Alt-A loans, adjustable-rate loans, interest-only loans, negative amortization loans, loans made for the purchase of condominiums and loans with second liens. Many of these higher risk loans were originated in 2006 and 2007. As a result of tightening our eligibility standards and underwriting criteria, we expect that the loans we are now acquiring will have a lower credit risk relative to the loans we acquired in 2006 and 2007.

I'm not speculating. I'm telling you how it works.

And I'm telling you Fannie and Freddie played every angle of the mortgage game right up to the bitter end and the facts support my position.

All of the above information is in the company's recent 10-Q report.

Sprezzatura said...


The very aggressive short term fixed period (2/3 years) ARMs with pre-pay penalties in the subprime market were the problem. Not all ARMs are created equally. Within lending companies the scary subprime stuff was completely separate from the more normal stuff, which included GSE, alt-A (portfolio and/or secondary), and government loans.

Now the real subprime stuff has been totally ravaged. What's left has been the GSEs trying to soak up some of the least messy subprime stuff, AFTER the damage was done by the unregulated products. The scary loans have largely disappeared, but they have never been part of the GSEs.

And, the GSEs were not the big neg-am folks, I know what they offered. As with everything they were, relatively, tighter than the unregulated stuff.

The low-doc and no-doc stuff is another example of the GSEs sticking to the better stuff. They would do these in two ways: 1) their "black box" electronic underwriting would sometimes allow limited docs for very high quality borrowers, 2) they would design specific programs for specific lenders, where the limited doc status was allowed for the borrowers with the highest credit worthiness.

Any time a borrower didn't fit into the GSE's standards (or a portfolio program) lenders would go to the unregulated investors to create more aggressive, problematic, products. And, the money was easy to find, folks were funding mind boglingly stupid things. In the past I kept printouts of particularly insane loan programs (that were offered to me by investors, but I didn't peruse) so that I could amuse other folks in the bank.

I've spent a lot of time finding the most profitable (for the bank) products for all types of borrowers. The GSEs were not the scary stuff.

As I have noted the GSEs were problematic. But, the unregulated stuff was worse. So, if you're upset with the GSEs you should be twice as upset at the unregulated stuff.

It's irrational to be most upset with Fannie and Freddie when they weren't the worst players. And, the right wing critiques of the GSEs completely ignore the large numbers of banks and lenders that were pushing for Fannie and Freddie to grow. A lot of our banking system was living (very well) off of these companies--they were cash cows. But, you folks can't acknowledge that the interesting GSE story is of corporate America (again) gaming the government for their (my) profit. And, for some reason you can't acknowledge the obvious fact the unregulated stuff was much worse than the Fannie and Freddie stuff.

And, it is also important to keep in mind, as I've noted, that our core problem is the move to an economy increasingly based on paper shuffling rather than capital.

As a side note you should know that the GSEs bought loans from lenders on something of an "honor system." They do QC all files, but their really in depth reviews are random. So, I wouldn't be shocked if some folks sold them some garbage as the market got ugly and desperation combined with fraud.

If nothing else, I know that folks were messing with the appraisers. In the past I've approved of using appraisers when they had a record of working with big, well known, lenders. But, some of these folks actually asked us what was the number we needed. This is really bad. And, it was just one of the early signs that made me very nervous several years ago.

Anonymous said...

It's irrational to be most upset with Fannie and Freddie when they weren't the worst players.

Never said I was most upset with the GSEs, all I've said is that they were significant contributors to the problem and I backed my statement with facts from Fannie's own SEC filings demonstrating that they were big players in subprime and Alt-A mortgages.

You stated they had nothing to do with subprime or Alt-A or negative amortization loans, but I proved your statements false with Fannie's own SEC filings.

After being proven incorrect, you then claim they didn't buy the worst of the subprime or Alt-A paper.

In other words, you keep moving the goal posts after your statements concerning Fannie and Freddie's noninvolvement in the mortgage mess are proven incorrect.

It doesn't matter if Fannie and Freddie took the best of the subprime or the worst of the subprime, the simple fact is they played the subprime game to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in an attempt to juice their profits.

And by purchasing subprime and Alt-A paper from Countrywide and other mortgage brokers, the GSEs contributed substantially to the problem, so they, too, must pay a price for their financial malfeasance.

Finally, the government has no business being the mortgage business, and I hope this crisis is used to abolish the GSEs.

Eric said...

Finally, the government has no business being the mortgage business, and I hope this crisis is used to abolish the GSEs.

I agree 100%, but I don't see how they could do that in the short term without triggering a depression.

The real scandal, IMO, is the political influence. GSEs had, by law, virtually no reserve requirements and unenforceable reporting requirements. The Merrills and Lehmans of the industry may have gambled it up, but at least they weren't doing it with my tax dollars as a backstop.

Sprezzatura said...


You would do well to reread all that I've written.

1) Before I stated anything else, I clearly stated that the Fannie and Freddie were problematic. And, I noted that they're political power players in DC.

2) I've been careful to distinguish Fannie and Freddie products as prime. I clearly broke out the problematic subprime and alt-A products as different from the GSE products. When you seemed interested in details, I gave you specific attributes that distinguish between the so called "subprime" and "alt-a" of the GSEs and the problematic subprime and alt-A products that started this melt down.

3) The only thing you've proved is that you are too thick to learn from an insider. I wasted my time detailing some specific differences between the various products. I wasted my time telling you how we shopped for places for loans. I told you that the GSEs (and portfolio products) were the conservative products, then it got crazy from there. I try to tell you that lenders (like CW that you mentioned) had different and separate things going on at the same time--some standard portfolio, GSEs, subprime, alt-A(protfolio and/or secondary), government stuff.

4) You are an even bigger fool than I originally thought. I've been in the center of this thing, but somehow you think that you know what's been going on because you can read the word "subprime" and "alt-a." But, even after you've been informed you still have no idea what these words mean to a GSE versus an unregulated entity. And, you can't fathom how the big differences in the underlying products was important three years ago when the GSEs were relatively prudent, but the unregulated folks were full speed over the cliff (dragging the GSEs with them.)

Remedial Edition:
The GSEs have been around for decades. Why did the blowup happen now? That's right; the massive increase in unregulated products. People in the business knew these would eventually blowup years ago, and it was very likely that they would take the housing market with them (BTW, I cashed in and got out two years ago.) And, you main street conservatives just keep get played over and over and over and over and.....

Anonymous said...

I've been careful to distinguish Fannie and Freddie products as prime.

This is your mistake. Some Fannie and Freddie products were prime, some were not. They sold mortgage backed securities backed by prime and they sold MBS backed by subprime and Alt-A.

They invested in MBS backed by prime and they invested in MBS backed by subprime and Alt-A.

Their hands are not clean.

I agree that many people on the unregulated side went completely nuts with mortgage backed derivatives based upon junk, but Fannie and Freddie joined in the party and, in their own ways, encouraged the party to continue.

Bottom line, they are not innocent bystanders, they were participants.

I do agree that short-term Fannie and Freddie can not be shut down without inflicting severe damage to the economy, but I do believe they can and should be phased out over the 10 years.

Palladian said...

"OK, Palladian. Now you may resume salami-smoking and thinking it's all a manifestation of global anti-Semitism."

My salami-smoking is not a manifestation of global Antisemitism. I've blown Jews before.