Sunday, December 13, 2009


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.


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.


Smitty said...

Yeah, we've been, um, slow in posting. When we each finally wake up from our inebriated haze, we have missed the boat on cogent, relevant posts.

Plus, I went on vacation for a bit and Bob has been in Africa, and steve has been tied up, so the most vociferous posters have been slack.

We apologize. We will endeavor to drink AND post so we can put more stuff on line and be topical and relevant.

All I have to say on your post is this:

Matt Taibbi, if he becomes a bit more careful, could join the likes of Bill Moyers and Daniel Schorr as honest journalists who don't just report on what people say, like most lazy reporters do. When did news become "here's what s/he said..." instead of "here's what s/he said, and here's the truth about that statement..."

And if Sarah Palin becomes POTY, I am leaving. I am packing my shit and leaving.

Mr Furious said...

Take it from someone who works in magazines...

Palin as POTY is the smart move for TIME. They will move exponentially more copies with her on the cover that anyone else.

For that reason alone, I'm with Pollak. And the more I think about, the more shocked I'll be if it's not her.

Mr Furious said...

RE: Taibbi. If nothing else, I hope the lesson he takes away from this is that playing fast and loose with the facts allows the debate to center on that particular detail instead of what the whole article was driving at.

steves said...

Time magazine has had some pretty stupid men/people of the year, and people don't always get it for good reasons. Hitler got it in 1938, Stalin got it 1942, and Khomeini got it in 1979. While Sullivan would probably lump her in with that group, I wouldn't, but I did want to point out that it doesn't go to the 'best' person.

As a previous Taibbi hater, I have to say that he has put out some consistently good stuff in the past two years. I think his writing has matures and that he has certainly shown that he is not some shill. I don't see him as reserved as Moyers, and I mean this as a compliment.

steves said...

I will get something up over there soon, but I have been insanely busy and fighting off a bad cold.

Bob said...

Right after I get over the 8 hour jetlag, from a flight with a 6 month old who was fighting a fever and then catch up on my sleep after getting up 5 times a night over the last week, I will post.

So in other words, I ain't posting and you will like it.

steves said...

Bob, your excuse trumps all others here. Glad you and the family are back safe and sound.