Tuesday Reads: Philippines Disaster, Economics News, and the Concern Troll Media

November snow1

Good Morning!!

Boy did I ever get a shock when I looked out my window this morning and saw a mix of snow and rain coming down outside. Noooooo! It’s way too early for winter weather. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Now that I’ve looked at this morning’s news from the Philippines, I’m ashamed to be complaining about a little bit of freezing rain. The disaster following Typhoon Haiyan is beyond belief. ABC News talked to a 19-year-old American woman who who survived the massive storm.

Rebecca Ruth Guy, 19, was living in the city of Tacloban, which bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges Friday. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees.

“When the storm hit, our apartment was flooding so we tried opening the door but the flooding was already rising up to our chest,” Guy told ABC News.

Faced with a life-and-death situation, Guy’s friend smashed the window so they could climb to the roof and escape the storm surge, which is being blamed for a large part of the destruction and death.

“We got out to the roof,” she said. “The rain was coming, the winds were crazy and it was getting cold. So we ended up sandwiching together and holding onto one another for warmth, praying for protection of the people.

“The most harrowing was when I saw women and children piled under tarpaulin, and when I saw dogs skewered on gates, cars thrown into buildings, people trying to find something to eat, water to drink,” she added.

According to the article, the U.S. sent planes to evacuate Americans living in the Philippines; other residents aren’t so fortunate.

CNN is reporting that 1,774 people are dead; but that number will continue to rise.

Cebu, Philippines (CNN) — Typhoon Haiyan has killed too many people to count so far and pushed to the brink of survival thousands more who have lost everything, have no food or medical care and are drinking filthy water to stay alive.

By Tuesday, officials had counted 1,774 of the bodies, but say that number may just be scratching the surface. They fear Haiyan may have taken as many as 10,000 lives.

The storm has injured 2,487 more since it made landfall six times last Friday, the government said. It has displaced at least 800,000 people, the U.N. said Tuesday.

Unfortunately a new storm and an earthquake have hindered rescue efforts.

As authorities rush to save the lives of survivors four days after Haiyan ripped the Philippines apart, a new tropical low, Zoraida, blew in Tuesday delivering more rain, the Philippine national weather agency PAGASA reported.

Zoraida is not a strong storm, but has dumped just under four inches of rain in some places, CNN meteorologists say….

An earthquake also rattled part of the affected area. The 4.8 magnitude temblor shook San Isidro Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Here are a few more links about the storm and its aftereffects:

An aerial view of a coastal town in Samar province on Monday, Nov. 11. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

An aerial view of a coastal town in Samar province on Monday, Nov. 11. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

The Week: The terrible destruction of Typhoon Haiyan. This one has a number of shocking photos like the one to the left.

CNN: How it happened: Tracing Typhoon Haiyan’s havoc in the Philippines (lots more photos at this link)

NPR: WHO Rates Typhoon’s Medical Challenges ‘Monumental’

NPR: ‘It Looks Like A 50-Mile Wide Tornado’ Hit The Philippines

CTC News: Typhoon Haiyan: Before and after photos of storm’s damage

In other news, here’s one that will interest Dakinikat: Obama to Tap Treasury Official as Top Derivatives Regulator. From The New York Times Dealbook blog:

President Obama will nominate Timothy G. Massad as the new chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday, a White House aide said, choosing the senior Treasury Department official to run an agency that polices some of Wall Street’s riskiest activity.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Massad will succeed Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs banker who overhauled the agency in the wake of the financial crisis. Mr. Gensler, credited with turning one of Wall Street’s laxest regulators into one of its most aggressive, must leave office at the end of the year when his term officially expires.

Mr. Massad, an assistant secretary of the Treasury who oversaw the unwinding of the government’s bailout program stemming from the financial crisis, would join the agency as it undergoes a makeover.

Bart Chilton, the agency’s most liberal commissioner, announced last week that he would soon depart. David Meister, the enforcement director who led actions against some of the world’s biggest banks, departed the agency last month. And Jill E. Sommers, a Republican commissioner, left months ago.

The vacancies have raised the stakes for Mr. Massad’s nomination. If Mr. Chilton and Mr. Gensler depart before their successors are confirmed, the five-member commission will be down to just two members: one Republican, Scott D. O’Malia, and one Democrat, Mark Wetjen.

That would not be good. I know Dakinikat is busy today, but here’s another article for her to weigh in on if she has time: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer. From Andrew Huszar at the Wall Street Journal:

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs.

The Fed said it wanted to help—through a new program of massive bond purchases. There were secondary goals, but Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that the Fed’s central motivation was to “affect credit conditions for households and businesses”: to drive down the cost of credit so that more Americans hurting from the tanking economy could use it to weather the downturn. For this reason, he originally called the initiative “credit easing.”

Huzar claims that Janet Yellen will likely continue Bernanke’s policies.

Even when acknowledging QE’s shortcomings, Chairman Bernanke argues that some action by the Fed is better than none (a position that his likely successor, Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen, also embraces). The implication is that the Fed is dutifully compensating for the rest of Washington’s dysfunction. But the Fed is at the center of that dysfunction. Case in point: It has allowed QE to become Wall Street’s new “too big to fail” policy.

0225-warren-clinton-630x420

More pundits are joining the anti-Hillary ranks. According to The Hill’s Alex Bolton:

Liberal leaders want Hillary Clinton to face a primary challenge in 2016 if she decides to run for president.

The goal of such a challenge wouldn’t necessarily be to defeat Clinton. It would be to prevent her from moving to the middle during the Democratic primary.

“I do think the country would be well served if we had somebody who would force a real debate about the policies of the Democratic Party and force the party to debate positions and avoid a coronation,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, an influential progressive group….

Clinton raised concern among the Democratic Party’s populist base when she recently accepted an estimated $400,000 from Goldman Sachs for two speeches.

Influential progressives wonder whether someone who accepted such a large sum from one of Wall Street’s biggest investment firms could be expected to hold corporate executives accountable if elected president.

They also wonder how aggressively she’d call for addressing income inequality, which many see as one of the biggest economic problems facing the nation.

That’s odd, since Obama ran to Hillary’s right in 2008 and received more contributions from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms than either Hillary or John McCain. But let’s not get caught up in facts…

Politico has taken up the suggestion from Noam Scheiber at The New Republic that Dakinikat wrote about yesterday that Elizabeth Warren should run against Hillary. Concern trolls Ben White and Maggie Haberman write:

There are three words that strike terror in the hearts of Wall Street bankers and corporate executives across the land: President Elizabeth Warren.

The anxiety over Warren grew Monday after a magazine report suggested the bank-bashing Democratic senator from Massachusetts could mount a presidential bid in 2016 and would not necessarily defer to Hillary Clinton — who is viewed as far more business-friendly — for the party’s nomination.

And the fear is not only that Warren, who channels an increasingly popular strain of Occupy Wall Street-style anti-corporatism, might win. That is viewed by many political analysts as a slim possibility. It is also that a Warren candidacy, and even the threat of one, would push Clinton to the left in the primaries and revive arguments about breaking up the nation’s largest banks, raising taxes on the wealthy and otherwise stoking populist anger that is likely to also play a big role in the Republican primaries.

So what does Warren think about all this?

A spokesperson for Warren declined to comment on whether she would consider a presidential bid against Clinton, though Warren has previously said she has no plans to run. People close to Warren note that she signed a letter from female Democratic senators urging Clinton to run in 2016. And Warren associates, mindful of any appearance of creating the narrative of a Warren-for-president campaign, have corresponded with Clinton associates to stress that they didn’t fuel the New Republic story by Noam Scheiber.

Assholes. Hey, I have an idea–why not get Kirstin Gillibrand to run against Hillary too? Of course Chris Cillizza is also rooting for Warren and Clinton to destroy each other’s chances to do anything positive about the economy:

Quick, name someone who would have a realistic chance of beating out Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential nomination. Martin O’Malley? Nope. Joe Biden? Maybe but probably not. Howard Dean. No way. There’s only answer to that question that makes even a little sense. And that answer is Elizabeth Warren.

And so on… bla bla bla… Don’t these idiots have anything important to write about? Like maybe jobs, children without food or health care, or the upcoming battle over the debt limit?

Thank goodness for TBogg at Raw Story: What if Elizabeth Warren went back in time and smothered Baby Hitler in his crib?

If you have been  perambulating about the internet these past few days, the above is exactly the kind of linkbait bullshit narratives that are being peddled by people who have wearied talking about President of New Jerseymerica Chris Christie or whether Rand Paul was the real life inspiration for the J.L. Borges short story, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote. It seems that frustrated  writers lacking hobbies have turned their lonely eyes to the Democratic side of the 2016 presidential election which is just around the corner, if by corner, you mean: three years from now. But with Hilary “Killary” Clinton pretty much chillaxing with the nomination ripe for the taking (providing she doesn’t rehire Mark Penn, aka The Man Who Could Fuck Up A Baked Potato) there isn’t a whole lot of  tension the likes of which you can find on a daily basis on the Republican Wingnut Flavor of the Week side.

So naturally, Noam Scheiber felt obligated to create some Democratic conflict. T-Bogg responds:

I love Elizabeth Warren. I would totally have her baby if she would have me. You love Elizabeth Warren. We all love Elizabeth Warren. Someday Elizabeth Warren t-shirts may very well become as ubiquitous as Che T’s. But, outside of the hazy crazy patchouli-scented fever palaces that are the comment sections of the manic progressive websites, nobody really thinks that Warren could, would, or should run an insurgent primary campaign against Clinton. And, to be quite frank, those who think Warren should run to in order to “start a conversation” are the  kind of people who have attempted this kind of thing in the past and , as my grandmother used to put it, “don’t have dick to show for it”.

Read his replies to Politico and Cillizza at the link. BTW, I wrote comment before I discovered T-Bogg’s piece. Great minds think alike, but T-Bogg expressed my reactions so much better than I could.

That should be enough to get us started on the day’s news. What stories are you following? Please post your links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!


72 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Philippines Disaster, Economics News, and the Concern Troll Media”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    It is clear that the lazy media does love a “horse race”. They already covered the possibility of Big Boy and Hillary going “head to head” three years away from the actual event.

    The latest attempts to keep “the ball rolling” is them seeking out GOP leaders for their take on Christie and he hasn’t even announced (though he it is certain he will). Most of them do not like him and any chance that Christie has in the general (should he make it that far) is dependent upon Dem voters and Independents which is why he is already making the rounds to “soften” up that bullying image.

    Warren is not going to run. It just looks like “fun” for the press to create a scenario for themselves pretending to “handicap” the potential candidates while amusing themselves at the same time.

    Women will be the deciding factor this time around and watch for these potential candidates to be “wooing” them with promises of this or that while lowering the temperature for doing away with their rights. We won’t be fooled.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    NPR has been doing a surprisingly good job in its JFK assassination anniversary coverage. This interview with T. Jeremy Gunnthe, who headed the Assassinations Records Review Board in the 1990s, was fascinating: Inconsistencies Haunt Official Record Of Kennedy’s Death

    Gunn revealed that Dr. Joseph Humes told him about irregularities in the official autopsy:

    Humes told Gunn that the autopsy was not performed strictly by the book; some procedures were left out, such as removing and weighing all the organs. Then, Humes made an eye-opening revelation.

    “Dr. Humes admitted that the supposedly original handwritten version of the autopsy that is in the National Archives is in fact not the original version,” Gunn says. He says Humes had never said that publicly before, even to the Warren Commission.

    In the deposition, Humes explained that when he took the material home after the autopsy was completed, he began thinking about how he had once seen the bloodstained chair Abraham Lincoln had been sitting in when he was shot.

    “I thought this was the most macabre thing I ever saw in my life,” Humes said. “It just made a terrible impression on me. And when I noticed that these bloodstains were on this document that I had prepared, I said nobody’s ever going to get these documents. So I copied them … and burned the original notes in the fireplace.”

    When Gunn asked him whether there was anything in the original document that was not in the copy, Humes replied, “I don’t think so.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Two more interesting interviews with JFK book authors at NPR:

      Botched Investigation Fuels Kennedy Conspiracy Theories (interview with Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act, which critiques the Warren Commission’s investigation.

      In ‘Dallas 1963,’ A City Of Rage, Seized By ‘Civic Hysteria‘ (interview with author Bill Munutaglio.

      • Fannie says:

        Should have been “City of HATE”.

      • Mary Luke says:

        Another tidbit on the assassination, BB. Manchester had a heck of a time tracking down Mrs. Kennedy’s bloodstained pink suit. We know from his book that she was wearing the suit all night, and finally removed it only shortly before dawn in the White House when her maid persuaded her to take off the suit and prepared a bath for her. Manchester says Mrs. Kennedy was so traumatized she had shown no response at all to two sedative injections a doctor had given her while they were waiting for the autopsy at Bathesda. After that, he says, no one knew or wanted to talk about what her maid, Providencia, had done with the suit. Manchester eventually located it in an attic in Janet Auchincloss’, Jackie’s mother’s home. He opens the book with it, describing it poignantly as what, if one did not know the whole story, would appear to be the clothing of a young woman who had met with a terrible accident. Manchester said the suit eventually made its way to the National Archives, but who knows what may have happened since.

        I found his account telling, not just for the symbolism of the suit, which we’ll never forget even though we’ve never seen it again, but because by all other accounts, Janet Auchincloss was frankly a terrible mother to Jackie and Lee in an emotional sense, and obviously left them with permanent emotional scars. Yet, on that one day, she was the sole person who managed to do everything right…caring for the children, supporting Jackie, and, apparently, taking custody of the suit from the housekeeper, on a day and night when many more powerful than she were making error after error. It’s a strange psychological twist.

    • Mary Luke says:

      Wow! There’s an interesting segment in William Manchester’s book on the assassination, where he talks about how many otherwise calm and rational people did completely irrational things that day. Manchester was writing in the mid-1960’s, decades before the word “stress” became an everyday term, and before psychology really understood that extreme stress interferes with judgment. Manchester cited several examples of this kind of impaired judgment in the 24 hours or so immediately following JFK’s assassination. It sounds as if the good doctor was not involved in any intentional deceit, but acted emotionally and wasn’t even aware of the possible implications of his act.

  3. janicen says:

    ” But, outside of the hazy crazy patchouli-scented fever palaces that are the comment sections of the manic progressive websites,…”

    That’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. I laughed out loud.

  4. RalphB says:

    Nails the freakin’ press…

    SteveM: MEDIA DESPERATE TO CLEAR THE GOP FIELD FOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

    So, yes, we have the mainstream media trying not to trump up what will be a real horserace on the GOP side, while trying to create a race that doesn’t exist on the Democratic side — anything to generate the perception that the icky old lady could be taken down and we’ll be ruled again soon by a white guy who kicks down, with swagger.

  5. RalphB says:

    Gonna be an interesting case to watch.

    tp: Major Insurance Company Faces Lawsuit For Allegedly Tricking Customers Into Canceling Their Policies

    A major California insurance company is being sued by two consumers alleging that they were tricked into dropping their health coverage when they could have remained on their preferred plans under Obamacare, the Los Angeles Times reports.

    “Blue Cross successfully enticed tens of thousands of its individual policyholders to switch out of their grandfathered health plans and forever lose their protected grandfathered status,” states the lawsuit. “Blue Cross concealed information about the consequences of switching plans and intentionally misled its policyholders to encourage the replacement of grandfathered policies.” …

  6. bostonboomer says:
  7. bostonboomer says:

    OMG, I missed this one this morning.

    Richard Cohen, supposedly writing about Chris Christie and the Tea Party:

    Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

    As with the Dixiecrats, the fight is not over a particular program — although Obamacare comes close — but about a tectonic shift of attitudes. I thank Dennis J. Goldford, professor of politics and international relations at Drake University in Des Moines, for leading me to a live performance on YouTube of Merle Haggard singing “Are the Good Times Really Over.” This chestnut, a lament for a lost America, has been viewed well more than 2 million times. It could be the tea party’s anthem.

  8. RalphB says:

    Scott Lemieux is also funny here…

    LG&M: WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE?

    Motivated by the profound political commentary printed in the Paper of Record yesterday, I made some remarkable discoveries. Wondering exactly why I was expected to pay property taxes twice a year, I looked into it and found something truly shocking. The big check goes to something called “school taxes.” (Why haven’t people around here discovered such honest American practices as “homeschooling” and “giving your kid a miner’s helmet for his or her 10th birthday”?) As I informed city hall in an agitated phone call, I don’t even have kids, so why should I pay for someone else’s moochers? I was told that this was Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s America now, so I had no recourse. A look into my county taxes revealed something even more disturbing. Apparently, some of the money goes into a so-called “fire department” — but my mouse has never burned down! Even worse, the county apparently squanders money on snow removal services, and it’s not even supposed to snow today! …

  9. RalphB says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    444,000 signed up!

    Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10 states in the six weeks since open enrollment began, according to Avalere Health, a market analysis firm. Twenty-five states are expanding their Medicaid programs, but data for all of them was not available. Meanwhile, private plans offered through troublesome online markets are expected to have enrolled a far smaller number of people.

    The Obama administration plans to release October enrollment statistics this week, but publicly available figures already provide a contrast between a robust start for Medicaid expansion and lukewarm early signups for new, government-subsidized private plans offered separately under the law. ….

    Medicaid pays doctors less than Medicare, and much less than private insurance, fostering an impression that the coverage is no better than being uninsured, and maybe even worse. But a recent scientific study debunked that, finding that having Medicaid virtually eliminates the risk of catastrophic medical expenses due to a serious accident or the sudden onset of a life-threatening illness.

    Although article gives the impression that private insurance pays generously, that is not always true.

    • RalphB says:

      How could someone get the idea that Medicaid was no better than or worse than being uninsured? That would take a good snow job to pull that off.

  11. Hey y’all. I’ve had a bad migraine headache and yesterday we had to take Bebe to doctor…today is my brother’s birthday, so it is just plain busy. There is so much going on…geez, I’ve found so many links for tomorrow’s post.

    I had to share this however, it made me laugh and that was something I really needed to do. I got it from Facebook, some dude named Eddie Relick

    Remember: Cold season is starting and cows seek heat on car hoods. do not forget to tap on the hood to give the cow enough time to get off before you drive away!

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Don’t miss this one:

    Concern troll Dylan Byers sort of defends Richard Cohen, but pretends he’s not speaking for himself.

  13. List of X says:

    The media can’t have Hillary become a nominee without holding primary contests they could write about. These elections are media’s bread and butter. Primary-less nomination for them is like for sports journalists seeing all baseball teams mutually agree to give Red Sox the 2014 championship and skip the whole 2014 season.
    So the 2016 Dem primary has to happen, even if only in their heads.

    • bostonboomer says:

      There will be a primary, because Joe Biden is going to run. I’m sure a few others will too. But Elizabeth Warren will not be among them.