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      A lot of mistakes come from assuming rationality means “thinks the same way I do” rather than “reasons from premises I might not share.” Left than 1/1000 economists predicted the financial collapse, because they reasoned from assumptions like “the market is self-correcting” or “housing prices never go down.” (Sometimes both at the same time, which is rarely […]
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Tuesday: Springtime for the NYTimes and Big Lies

It’s been really cold in NJ this spring.  Yep, I know it’s still early but I wore the liner of my trenchcoat yesterday and could see my breath in the chilly rain.  I’m thoroughly sick of it.  If you in the midwest are holding onto the zephyrs, please let them go already.  I feel like I’ll never be warm again.

In the meantime, the NYTimes have two interesting articles up today.  Surprise!  We feel good about the economy since Obama took office. Well, no one *I* know feels good about it but they probably didn’t get polled.  But for the rest of the country who live on some mythical Disneyesque Main Street, it is the triumph of hope over inexperience.

Americans have grown more optimistic about the economy and the direction of the country in the 11 weeks since President Obama was inaugurated, suggesting that he is enjoying some success in his critical task of rebuilding the nation’s confidence, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

These sometimes turbulent weeks — marked by new initiatives by Mr. Obama, attacks by Republicans and more than a few missteps by the White House — do not appear to have hurt the president. Americans said they approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, Iraq and Afghanistan; fully two-thirds said they approved of his overall job performance.

I find his job performance clearly lacking in tangible results, especially when it comes to the economy.  But the propaganda campaign is in full swing and many of my colleagues and friends feel absolutely powerless against the wealthy elite who run our companies and steal our money. (Wait a second. Wasn’t it the NYTimes that helped get us into the Iraq War in the first place? Hmmm…) I suppose the public is feeling that Obama will make them use plenty of lube and make it less painful than it was under the GOP.  Actually, I still sense a great deal of anger over this perceived powerlessness but the anger is directed at the finance industry than the administration right now.  That will change and we will do our best to speed things along.

The other article is all about the newly unemployed who are persisting in their old routines.  It’s a matter of pride, which psychologists suggest could be a good thing.  People who are laid off have lost some of their sense of identity when they lose their jobs.  So, they refuse to give in:

The Wall Street type in suspenders, with his bulging briefcase; the woman in pearls, thumbing her BlackBerry; the builder in his work boots and tool belt — they could all be headed for the same coffee shop, or bar, for the day.

“I have a new client, a laid-off lawyer, who’s commuting in every day — to his Starbucks,” said Robert C. Chope, a professor of counseling at San Francisco State University and president of the employment division of the American Counseling Association. “He gets dressed up, meets with colleagues, networks; he calls it his Western White House. I have encouraged him to keep his routine.”

No doubt, they are equally confident in Obama’s ability to revive the economy.

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116 Responses

  1. The supposed “knife assassination attempt” in Turkey was hoax, a Turkish official is saying. The man was well-known to them, and disturbed, but no danger to anyone and was released.

    What is interesting is that the “tip” came not from inside Turkey, but from an email address in the United States, who knew the man’s name and address.

    • I haven’t heard a peep about that. And I followed this trip rather closely. Puzzling.

  2. How nice that the New York Times is rooting for the President and doing their best to prop him up.

    • They have gone from Obama fluffer to leading lady in his blockbuster pr0n…

      • I have suggested in the past that W2’s administration is a second rate p0rn…”Black Bush Gone Wild.”

    • About those reader comments attached to Izvestia’s latest Obama feel good propaganda, this time on optimism about the economy? Last night, the comments were running solidly along the lines of ‘what the hell are you people at the Times smoking?”. This morning? The comment thread is gone. Disappeared.

      Every day is tinfoil hat day.

  3. Before Starbucks, people would get dressed up and go to the Library for the day when they were unemployed. We’d know that we were in a recession when all the Resume books disappeared from the shelves and when the number of people in suits went up.

    The thing they evidently didn’t mention in that article is that MANY people get dressed up so that their spouse and family won’t find out they’ve been laid off.

    People came to the Library hoping we could save them from having to reveal the truth by hooking them up with a new job. And as time went on just to hide in a safe place.

    • When I read about the “same routine” I thought of the older gentleman in “The Full Monty” who didn’t let his wife know of his unemployment until the repo guys were emptying their house!

    • Actually kb, I just read a piece last week that said library attendance has skyrocketed with all the unemployment, and it’s stressing library staffs, because people are emotionally distraught and looking for counseling and reassurance, and the staff is not qualified to offer it. Tent cities, hysterical libraries, tea parties–yep, everybody’s lovin’ them some Obama.

      But of course we can trust CBS & the NY Times right? I am so tired of this propaganda being shoved down our throats every friggin day in the face of so much deceit, hypocrisy and corruption.

    • God Katie, you have just brought back my worst memories of working in a PubLib!

      Between “where are the ‘job’ books” and “where are the ‘divorce’ books” I could tell how bad the situation was……

      Thankfully I work in a UniLib now where I don’t see that as much. (I just get to watch as the first stirings of soul are striped from young minds who think they are ready for the ‘real world’)

  4. after the 60 Minutes Iranian torture piece on Sunday, it looks to me like the propagandists are at it again…

  5. holy shit! I didn’t read Dakinikat’s post before I posted. I’m channeling her.

    • Isn’t it amazing how I can quote a different part of the NY Times with all those economists saying how glum things are and back over there on the front page is the hopey changey meme?

  6. He is coming “home” today and I am sure he will get down to the business of running the nation once he unpacks.

    • I expect that confidence will go down again once he comes back home and starts his bumbling again.

      That poll, skewed as it is, is revealing. People are generally unhappy, but not yet blaming it on 0bama, not yet admitting they were bamboozled. They will. Give it time.

      • The only reason they’re aren’t pointing fingers at Obama is the MSM’s magic protective shield, which allows nothing of substance about Obama’s economic (and other) sins to reach the eyes of all those potentially unruly citizens.

    • But will Malia and Sasha finally get that puppy?

    • Nah…he’ll hit the gym and be back on the road before you know it. Good gawd, he’s Bush redux.

    • and thats the joke of the day,,thanks PAT…

  7. Pat: Are you chewing those green shoots or smoking them?

  8. “… who’s commuting in every day — to his Starbucks”. I like this spirit. But then what Katiebird says is heartbreaking.

    On another note:
    Do you remember, when the Czech PM caracterized the Stimulus Package as “The road to Hell” in the EU Parliament a couple of weeks ago?

    Well it seems it is time for payback. Time for B0 to show his middle finger.

    He turned down an invitation from the Czech President and PM to have dinner at the Castle. Instead he had a “romantic dinner“ with MO at a restaurant across from the Castle. (“Romantic dinner“ is definitely an Axelrodism.)

    • Obama is a petty SOB. But then, we knew that.

    • They have much to celebrate at their romantic interlude—BO and MO—she can celebrate the return of the POTUS wife to a fashion statement empty of any substance and he can celebrate his crowd appeal—ever a fine exchange for substantive achievement. I bet they eat cake!

      • Yeah. I would never, ever profess to know what goes on between two people in a marriage and would never judge or take sides. But that said MO’s role in their marriage puzzles me to no end.
        Can anyone explain how – and – why a smart, well-educated, eloquent (yes, SHE is!) woman, turned herself into a suddenly shy, timid, mostly silent fashion mannequin?

        • PIPS: You are right. She has lost that macho woman in charge self that we saw on the campaign trail. I am not sure I buy eloquent but I saw her much more as a Hillary type woman in the sense of being her own woman and involved in issues rather than wife, mommy, pretty picture. I think maybe she has given into this version of what the POTUS wife should be because I think it might be a little like a feel good drug. She is not the beauty queen type but probably inside every woman there is a little beauty queen wanting to be discovered and admired. I have only had one cup of coffee so that is probably off the mark and a mile wide.

          • And you know, with the popularity of The Red Carpets, The Catwalks, The Sex and the Cities, how can any girl or woman not be interested in fashion? At least to some exyent. And I still think, that MO looked fab in the bright coloured formhugging dresses from the election. That was much more her style. And probably her own!

        • Axelrod can be very persuasive.

          • Have any of you ever seen him “live”? To me he looks appaling. Like a weasel. (No offense to those!)

      • Just another day in Bamalot.

    • But he is the Great Unifier who is reaching out with an unclenched fist right? He is going to rid the world of nuclear weapons through the wondrous magic of speechifying us into a passive stupor.

  9. Let’s face it. Americans probably were glad to see that their president and tangentially their country were admired once again on the world stage rather than booed, dissed and picketed. Our whole culture of rock stardom is a national escape. It is how we keep telling ourselves that we could all be famous and admired, if only for a moment. It’s why people buy lottery tickets. But real life is in the stats of that NYT poll. I don’t think 39% of the public thinking we are going in the right direction is much of a victory for BO.

    • Everything in those numbers contradicts the headline and so called analysis. Or our own eyes.

      “70 percent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned that someone in their household would be out of work and looking for a job in the next 12 months.”

      • So really the threat of unemployment causes them to show approval in the hope that the worst doesn’t happen. Approving of obama is really about clinging to straws.

        Success for obama will be measured by those 70% of households not actually suffering the job losses they are afraid of. Climbing unemployment will be his worst enemy – unless the NY Times keeps telling people they are the ONLY ones who are afraid and seeing a scary future.

      • too many links??

        • thx Owen-I did miss them.

          • But Owen—those were not directed at BO and did not appear to me to be directly aimed at the USA as they have in the past. They seemed to be more aimed at the bankers and rich.

          • Owen, I did miss the al jazeera one altho I had heard that there was some anti-O stuff in Turkey but small. Maybe it all got covered up but the big story seemed to be all hail the chief and the new rock star of world politics. What was very disturbing to me was the emphasis O put on all the US bad of the past. We have certainly had our horrors but every country has a past and even a present closet full of little horrors.

  10. This sounds like a more realistic assessment of the current situation: http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/04/07/a-democrat-warns-more-trouble-ahead/

    • I quoted Altman from the NY Times blog yesterday. He’s appears to be raining on the world tour. He’s in Iraq today looking all CIC. He probably needed to stop to get some basket ball in.

  11. Well, you’re wrong.

    There are tangible results of his policies. Just not the ones anyone wanted.

  12. Also…according to BTD at Talk Left, Obama may be popular but his financial plan is NOT:

    “President Obama’s approval ratings are at 66% according to the latest NYTimes CBS poll. However, 58% disapprove of his policies regarding the financial crisis

    “By contrast, a 47% plurality approve of aid to the auto industry while only 38% disapprove. I assume President Obama, Secretary Geithner and Obama economic advisor Lawrence Summers really believe their plan is the right thing to do. It is incumbent upon them to explain why they think so to the American People. I think it is a terrible plan. But it does not matter what I think. The Obama Administration owes the country some explanations for why so much more taxpayer money should go to the banks via the Geithner Plan. So far, the explanations have been quite unconvincing.”


  13. I don’t know anyone who is optimistic about the economy either. Most of us are looking at having a lot less money in our retirement accounts, our house values are in the toilet and we are just hoping we can hold onto our jobs through the worst of it.

    I did see something yesterday saying a strong recovery could take hold… I’m thinking a weak recovery could take hold too. They are really digging for silver linings and articles like the NY Times are just trying to make us think that there are “other people” who think things are going good.

    Kind of like the disfunctional family dynamic that won’t name the elephant in the room and just pretend we don’t know uncle so-in-so is drunk beyond all recognition. “They” want us to pretend things aren’t screwed up.

  14. WSJ op ed piece yesterday falls in line with the FT piece. Two economists who contend that this recession shares with the Great Depression the same nexus. That nexus is that what brought down the banks was the speculation of a dot.com type bubble then and now. What brought the banks down and the financial system then and now was consumer driven debt especially in housing because that debt goes right to the bank’s balance sheet whereas the debt of a stock market bubble goes to the balance sheet of the speculator who has to take the loss. So now what we are doing is transferring all those bank losses and financial market losses that backed up that housing bubble to the balance sheet of the Fed and the Treasury.

  15. I have no idea where they are coming up with those “positive” approval numbers. People in my circle are genuinely concerned about where they will be next week. We are all cutting back so to speak, trimming expenses and trying to set aside a little for those days that might be coming.

    I would like to be more optimistic but reality keeps pushing its nose through the flap of my tent. Caution is more the byword in my circle. Optimism, not so much since most of us do not actually believe everything we see or hear.

  16. jjmtacoma,

    Talk Left is still worth reading if you stay FAR FAR away from Jeralyn’s posts. BTD never drank the Kool-Aid and was always, in his own words “at best a tepid supporter” of BO. He has been on his case from day one. Several PUMAs comment at his posts and there’s no flaming as long as it’s civil.

    • I’ve made my peace with BTD. He concentrates on the substantive stuff, while Jeralyn tap dances through hre own strange universe. Recently, BTD has been very critical of O moves (and non-moves).

  17. A relative of mine works in an Upper Crust watering hole restaurant in NYC. Business is good . So maybe the NYT polled the war criminals and bail out kings hanging out at the bar?

  18. Personally I think the feel good campaign is to lull us into a doze as they gear up for social security…..or whatever other loot they are now eyeing.

    It’s impossible to tell if the economy will recover , or even will be allowed to recover since its underpinnings are subject to constant attack via looting and fraud .

    It’s like asking if a shark attack victim will recover…. while they are still in the water being bitten. Ask me when the attack is over…..and lord knows when that will be….most likely when the meat is gone

  19. I don’t believe anything coming from the networks or the NY Times anymore. Talk about toxic. It’s like Entertainment Tonight at this point. People are living in their cars, and their orgasmic about MO’s latest fashion statement. It is sheer lunacy, and the desperate hordes are marching in line, praying if they ignore reality it will be o.k.

    I think his numbers are only holding because of the “inherited” meme they pushed so hard. People do not want to give up the dream, the savior fantasy, so they do not blame him for the problems. It’s still all because of Bush, and poor Bambi is trying so so hard, and it’s not his fault anyway. How long can he sustain that? No idea–but if people continue to lose jobs at this rate, they are going to turn against someone/thing.

    • fif, I’m with you.

      And people have to have phones to get polled. That detail might not have mattered a year ago, but it sure matters now.

  20. they are not their–hate that typo!!

  21. heard on the radio this morning that Obama claims the purpose for his current trip is to prove to Europeans that all Americans are not “self-centered and crass”.

    Oh, yeah, baby. he’s just the one to prove THAT, isn’t he?

    • lol!
      I remember how Obamaco would always turn any criticism coming its way and deflect it onto others.
      I don’t suppose Obama’s noticed some folks across the pond think he’s a bit tacky?

      • well, consider the “gift” exchange with the Queen. Obama gave her an ipod filled with American broadway show tunes; she gave him a picture of herself and prince charles in a silver frame. I’d say the Queen offered him a tacky insult equivalent to the tacky gifts he comes with.

        • Just once I would like to hear him really praise our founders or our constitution. Just once.

          Here’s a shocker for me: Yesterday I put Mark Levin’s book Liberty and Tyranny on hold at the library. I live in a liberal area, so of course there is only one copy of this bestseller at our large public library. I don’t care much for Levin, but I think the topic is apropos to what is happening today and I heard the book talks about the founding principles our country is based upon. A year ago, I didn’t even know who Levin is. Things change.

    • You know I object to this hoo haa because we are a caring nation and most of us have given our time in volunteer efforts. Must he go around apologizing for us as if we are some thing to be ashamed of?

      • I for one have always been in awe of your volunteering. You are an amazing people, and I really don’t buy into the meme, that Europeans “hate” you. Most disliked Bush, but even Americans can accept that … no? 🙂

      • to him and mo ..we are something to be ashamed of.
        thats the pity of this whole thing,
        that potus feels that way about this great country..

    • It’s always, always, always about Him. The snake that charms, for whatever insane reason.

    • Anyone catch Obama talking about the Earthquake?

      “WE are able to get rescue teams in” “WE can minimize this as much as possible”

      Wow, He REALLY IS Presnit of Earth!!!

  22. It’s still winter for housing values and the unemployed.

  23. I am unconvinced that these poll numbers indicate anything like confidence in “The Precious.” Does anyone else think that the precipitous drops in the markets, the failures and the bailouts that have gotten worse and worse since W2 took over simply have people thinking that “Surely we have nowhere to go but up!” I think that people are “whistling past the graveyard” and hoping against hope that we have finally hit bottom.

    • It just occurred to me that people may be afraid to say that they disapprove of Obama, because during the election, disapproval or any criticism of him was essentially redefined as …. you guessed it the “r” word.

      • I agree, sam. Same thing applies to all that breathless rock star coverage in Europe. “Look! Look how good we look gushing over this kewl black couple!!”

    • reality is beginning to hit the stock market again as the earnings reports are coming in for last quarter

  24. “He gets dressed up, meets with colleagues, networks; he calls it his Western White House. I have encouraged him to keep his routine.”

    I wonder how long he will continue with this routine after months of being unemployed. Shouldn’t he be advising his client to cut back on somethings.

    • heh, heh. I read your comment too fast, so at first I thought the “he” referred to Obama.

      • I did the same thing ….. and just pictured him going through the motions of pretending to be in charge.

    • I can’t help but think that some of these people should be saving on gas and other expenses. When we went a couple months without an income, buying coffee or lunch out was one of the first things to go.

      Networking is great as is maintaining a schedule (better than moping around the house in their p.j.’s), but once your income is cut you really need to watch expenses. Under normal circumstances, in a relatively stable job market, the expenses involved with maintaining a schedule and networking would probably pay off. However, in the present environment, for many people they won’t since more job losses are most likely on the way.

  25. I don’t know about east coast weather, but here’s a California weather report:

  26. W2 makes surpise visit to Baghdad!

  27. Vermont has legalized Gay Marriage. The Leg overrode the Gov’s veto. (h/t Janicen) Hell, yeah.

    • Really???? EXCELLENT NEWS! Go Vermont!!!!!!
      Iowa and Vermont…. hmmm….California, aren’t you feeling just a little bit embarrassed about now?

      • Wasn’t Vermont one of the first states to provide for civil unions more than 10 years ago? I used to work in insurance at the time, and I think I remember having to review all of our policy language for compliance with the new civil union legislation.

        • yup. I think you’re right Sam. VT had civil unions– I think going back to around 2000.

      • yes

  28. I think Brooksley Born has been been addressed at this blog before, but I’m not sure if the post went into as much detail as the Stanford Alumni Magazine article posted at noquarter. Apparently, shortly after being named head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission she tried to regulate the derivatives market and was shot down by Greenspan and others … get this she was perceived as being difficult and abrasive to work with (aren’t those common sexist labels applied to any female that stands up to a man or a group of men).


  29. Government better hurry and get GM into bankruptcy. Else they might come up with something line their electric PUMA vehicle. Now this is innovative.


    • Sorry ralphb, great minds and all that. I didn’t see yours in my rush to post mine. At least they are from differant sources.

      • No problem KM. Great minds do sometimes think alike. I think one of those would make a fun city car.

        Hope GM lasts to begin selling them in 2012.

  30. Admittedly OT but did anyone else see the P.U.M.A car?

    Here’s the link. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if a PUMA car saved GM’s ass?


  31. Is anyone but FOX news paying attention to the fact that while the American media is following Precious around, with their lips glued firmly to his arse-hole, N. Korea is shooting fucking missiles into the ocean in the directions of HI and AK? Is anyone paying attention to that?

  32. Attention Diggers. Remember to Digg this post here:


    And dak’s article downthread here:


    • Forgive my tech ignorance, but what IS “digging” and how and why do we do it?

  33. *Who is Under the Bus this week?
    A: The American people, cuz he is ashamed of us and is busy apologizing for us US HillBillies!… 😦
    *Who is being honored by induction into the Hall of Fame?
    A: Jackie Speier for: [Quote]:
    HR 1887 would establish a 15 member non-salaried Commission on Women charged with examining “the circumstances that contribute to discrimination, inequality and economic hardship faced by women throughout the country” and establishing “initiatives and programs that promote equality for women, and protect against discrimination of women, in all areas of public and private life.”
    Congresswoman Speier Seeks Presidential Commission on the Status of Women
    *Who is being nailed to the Wall of Shame?
    A: Obama for nominating pro Sharia Law Harold Koh.
    *Whose HERstory will we tell?
    A: Jackie Speier, a woman of courage and one that doesn’t give up. She also supported Hillary, the best candidate that just happened to be a woman.
    *Which Wankers are being sprayed with Cheeze Whiz?
    A: Hemmm, those that edited out Obama’s Turkey speech, especially CNN and MSNBC.

    So, those are my answers and I will tune in to see what Angie’s pets have to say too. 🙂

  34. When in Turkey B0 urged the Turks to make friends with the Armenians. But the two parties has already – slowly – started negotiations. (At a soccermatch non the less. That is a sure ice breaker – which only goes to show, that there are far too many men in politics.)
    So when/if they reach an agreement, I guess B0 takes/gets the credit?

    And I don’t really appreciate B0 telling Europeans to welcome Turkey into the EU. Bush did the same thing. How about EU telling B0 which state to make 51?

  35. Also the Turkish Government had demanded among other things, that the former Danish PM, made an excuse for the “Cartoons” (to get their approval for the Nato appointment). In a speech he explained, that he didn’t approve of the cartoons, and would never have made them himself, but this was part of living in a democracy with the right to free speech.
    His explanation was accepted by among others Kazai, and members of the Iranian delegation. Guess who wouldn’t accept? The Turkish press!

  36. And due to the PMs post at Nato, we got a new PM and today he announced the appointment of 2 new female Ministers. Age 36 and 39 years.

    • Photos?

      • Well you know, I had thought about posting the pictures of our 5 female party leaders of whom (whome?) one is Vice PM. I’ll see what I can come up with. Later.

        • Pips, please keep posting.

          It’s great to hear from Scandinavia (my grandmother was the first of our Swedish family to be born here in the U.S. I was in Sweden during the 9-11 attacks and had just had a wonderful time in Copenhagen. The European response to the attacks was something I will never forget…)

          I was really impressed by the Danish PMs comments after that cartoon. He really stood up with courage and common sense in the face of strong pressure. I wish more public leaders had that kind of backbone.

          • Gee, thanks Erica.
            Yeah, the response to the Europeans from Bush after 9/11, was quite a letdown. We felt your pain! And we SO wanted to be relevant, to be part not only of the grief, but also the helping and healing. And then Bush said thanks but no thanks. This is our pain, this is our healing. Stay away. I’m so sorry if that is what Berlusconi is doing too. Those people suffering so horrible need to know that they are not forgotten.

          • By the way, have you, being of Swedish heritage, followed the case with the Swedish woman who have been imprisoned in the US for 27 years and today was send back to Sweden? They have made documentaries about her – very sad fate, but a strong woman.

          • I don’t know anything about her, but if you post her name, I’ll check it out.

            Witnessing the Swedes response to 9-11 was deeply moving to me. People went out of their way to help us, to get us access to information, and to be kind and supportive. Then, one day at noon, there was a 5 minute national time of silent recognition. We were in a library in Vadstena and went outside to hear the bells ring and see 3 young city workers pull over, remove their caps, and stand in the rain with their hands over their hearts until the bell rang again. Then they got in their truck and went on. No talking, no goofing around, just respect. People did that all over the city, it was remarkable, and I felt very grateful.

            I am sorry that Bush’s response was so insular and off putting to you when you wanted to help.

  37. In my desperation to speak out for women’s rights i put together a brief commentary with Philip Yon’s song in the background… “Worlds Apart” this song goes out to all women and our lovely sisters who are victims of their births and cirmcumstances you can listen to it here


    it’s the second song in my player there

  38. New thread up.

  39. It is sort of like a major displacement. Very sad, and complete social instability. People get used to routines…when places like Starbucks fall they might notice.


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