Half the lefty blogosphere, including our good friend, Toast, have their panties in a bunch over Matt Taibbi's latest Obama-beatdown in Rolling Stone. It's not Taibbi's best article—and I say that because I was unable to get through it—and he seems to have botched and/or stretched some things to make a point, but count me with John Cole and Kevin Drum, and then John Cole on Drum—Taibbi's larger point handily outweighs any flaws in the article, and focusing only on Taibbi's scatological writing style or the disputed "facts" is really missing the forest. As for Tim Fernholz's "takedown" of Taibbi, I'm not so impressed, and I counter with Felix Salmon, or Taibbi himself.
Let me repeat something I said at Toast's (again):
I have a high tolerance/threshold for Taibbi's style and his conclusions and implications—even if speculative and ultimately proven wrong.
Because he and NPR's This American Life seem to be the only two entities in the whole of the fucking media that care enough to look into this stuff at all.
And he is one of the very few columnists with a national outlet (RS) that is attacking the Administration from the left.
Does Taibbi drive too fast and have his eyes closed some of the time? Sure. But he's a useful balance to the rest of the fucking establishment media that won't even take the car out of the garage.
POTY > POTUS
August J Pollak thinks TIME is going to name Sarah Palin its "Person of the Year." Much as that thought makes me want to retch, he makes a good case. Losing works out nicely for Palin, I suppose—fame, $$$ and attention without actually having to do anything or have responsibilities...
The House passed a "sweeping financial regulation" the other day, though, several Democrats jumped ship to scrap a key component designed to help ordinary citizens—the "cram-down" provision:
Republicans were successful in killing an amendment sought by housing advocates that would have given bankruptcy judges the ability to rewrite terms of mortgages so borrowers could remain in their homes. Judges can do this for second or vacation homes, luxury yachts and other areas where consumer debt is involved, but current laws prohibit reworking the terms of first mortgages.
Numerous Democrats joined GOP lawmakers in defeating this amendment — sometimes referred to as a cram-down provision, since judges could impose terms on banks — on the grounds that it could weaken bank finances and represented too steep a change from current practice.
And they did it without a Lieberman of their own... Since banks getting slowly paid off on a mortgage at a lower rate is less short-term profitable than foreclosing on people now, it had to go.* Even though in the long run it would probably be better for everyone—banks included—and would actually, you know, allow people remain in their homes? Pathetic. Especially since this has already cleared the House before.
*What was Matt Taibbi thinking—there's no banking conspiracy...
I was about to take the slackers at ATK to task for the paucity of posts over there—even with the big free agent signing of Mr. Henderson, when I decided to check Rickey's previously moribund site—lo and behold—Rickey's back from the grave and ready to party.
Matt Yglesias explains the current state of the union... Pretty tough to disagree.