Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There go the brides

I probably agree with others that it's not crazy, breaking news- but it's still a big deal. Priscilla's of Boston, the upscale bridal store, is closing. I know- when we're in an recession that sees unemployment constantly hovering near 10% and the number of children on food stamps increasing, this isn't breaking your heart.

 It's breaking mine, and I've never set foot in there. You need to understand that the Boston location is a big building on Boylston Street. We just lost Borders a few months ago- another very large building. We've got some other big stores as well, and now they're making me nervous. I guess I'm not too worried about the Apple Store, but do people still buy things from Crate and Barrel?

I am dreading Boylston Street looking like Newbury Street (they're right next to each other). The amount of For Lease, For Rent and For Sale signs on that street is ridiculous. I am way past missing the cache Newbury Street used to emanate; I just don't want things to be so empty. It's not any better on Washington Street or the rest of Downtown Crossing, and nearby Chinatown is taking its hits too.

Damn.

Deb in the (increasingly empty) City

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Keep your e-reader

I try to be responsible and keep all numbers and cards with me, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. A few years ago, one of those things was a library card number.

There was a question of a fine. I knew I had one, but I didn't know why. I called the library and asked if they could tell me what the overdue item was. (This was before both of the library systems in my area had the dazzling websites they have now.) Did I have my library card number on me? No, I didn't, and I couldn't find the card just then. Well, too bad. If I were physically inside the library, I could have shown them my license. However, if I couldn't give them a library card number on the phone, they couldn't help me.

I'm an impatient person who likes to get what I want when I want it, but I walked away from that conversation with a little bit of a smile. As the person on the other end of the phone explained to me, the powers-that-be had recently had a conversation about what they could share and what identification was required. Their decision was to lock down as much as they could. It was my understanding that decision was in direct response to the provisions of the PATRIOT ACT. Good for them. I was happy to memorize my library card number after that.

This is what the American Library Association has to say about the PATRIOT Act. At a time when so many were shrugging away our freedoms and liberties, they were one of the few organization to stand up and shake their heads. Reading their resolution overwhelms me with gratitude, and I was already pretty grateful.

...Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association; and, in a library, the subject of users' interests should not be examined or scrutinized by others;


That says so much. I would add that I want those freedoms to extend beyond the library. If I read something, it really isn't your concern- and by the way, calm down. I might want to read Mein Kampf because I want to understand the depth of someone's lunacy and hatred; I might want to read the collected works of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels because I want to see how much internal cohesion their philosophies had. That would not make me a Neo-Nazi or a Communist- although, if it did, that's my right and don't you forget it.

I recognize that if I use my credit or debit card to purchase a book, someone knows about it and, because corporations are awfully chatty with each other these days, a lot more people are going to know about it. Irritating- but in a brick and mortar store, I can always make my purchases with cash. That is not an option I have if I buy e-books, or even if I buy my books electronically. But, okay, we've learned to live with that for the most part.

Two weeks ago, I read The Filter Bubble. I reviewed it on my other site- go read it. There was a lot that found me shouting, "Honey, oh my God! Did you know this?" Knowing that the FBI could grab my emails from Google and Yahoo without a search warrant was shocking. The CIA and Google joint venture Recorded Future was funny in the way reality shows are funny- wasn't there a movie about that? But what made me really angry was the information about tracking on the Kindle.

Obviously, Amazon knows what you're buying- they built their company on knowing that and being able to make recommendations to you based on that. But if you're reading on a Kindle device, that will be the tip of the iceberg. They will know how quickly you read it, what pages you turned, whether you skipped around or read all the way through and which phrases and words you highlighted. That last part really sticks in my craw for some reason. That information is, of course, fed back to the Amazon servers so they can tailor their offerings to you accordingly. (Don't believe me? Please read here.)

Oh really? Is it not possible that I am very interested in economic history but put a title down after one chapter because it's obvious how biased the author is? Might I not generally be interested in suspense and mystery but stayed with a certain title because it was so well-written? Or maybe I sped through something because I'm a really fast reader, not because I didn't like it? Even with its algorithms, there's something Amazon (and I'm assuming other e-reader vendors) are going to miss. If I'm depending on them for the bulk of my shopping and recommendations, then there will be things I miss too.

I give up the privacy of what I read when I purchase something with a credit card; do I now have to give up the secrets of *how* I read for the convenience of not dragging a book around? How fortunate for me that I am, apparently, some kind of relic that enjoys holding a book and physically flipping pages, because I have no desire for anyone to know that much about everything I read.

I've got to say that I find this even more offensive than Google and Facebook pimping out my information to get money from advertisers. On a simple mathematical level, I accept the business logic: that's how those companies stay afloat. But what excuse does Amazon- or Apple or Barnes and Noble- have? Have people not paid for their e-readers? Have they not also paid for their e-books? And then I have to wonder about all of those self-published titles being sold for 99 cents. Poor Amazon (and B&N?) is only making 30% off of those titles. Well, if they're also able to glean user data from those titles, I think all those indie authors should get together and demand a better percentage.

You know what I'm going to do with an even clearer conscience than before? Use my library's electronic system to request books. I feel confident that if my information isn't entirely safe, it's not going to be given away without a fight. It's not because I'm so special- it's the principle, and the ALA might be one of the few groups still left that believes in those.

In an e-reader world, all I represent is principal. The difference between an "e" and an "a" is much greater than even the snarkiest speller imagined.

Deb in the City

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Four things

1) Did you read my interview with Mara Hvistendahl, the author of "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, And The Consequences of a World Full of Men"? Well, you should, because she and the book she wrote are pretty cool. (Yes, I read it.)

2) I'd like to respectfully ask everyone not to "double down" on their "beggar thy neighbor" policies before they decide to have their "come to Jesus" moment. Why? Because when I see multiple instances of the same phrase in the space of twenty pages, I don't know what phrase means anymore.

3) Oh My God! Steve Jobs isn't the CEO of Apple anymore! Now what are we going to do? There will never be another innovator the likes of him again. Ever. All of your Apple products- and the clones they spawned- are going to break within the next two days.

4) By the way, I just checked and the sky is not falling.

Deb in the City

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I'm Reading

I'm breaking my radio silence to advise everyone to go to the library and pick up the March/April 2011 issue of Foreign Affairs. (I would, of course, tell you to buy it and therefore support the publishers, but I don't think this is on sale anywhere anymore.)

I've been getting a lot of reading done in the last two weeks, and I realize that not telling people is one of the most hostile things I can do in our digitally connected world. I'll spare you the Agatha Christie titles (although, if you haven't already read The Hollow, you don't know what you're missing), but everyone should read:

China's Search for a Grand Strategy
Currency Wars, Then and Now (boy, do I want to get this guy's book now)
and The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy (this is some good stuff)

I don't agree with everything I've read so far (for example, I'd like less tension with China, but as someone with Korean ancestry I can't in good conscience advocate throwing Taiwan under the bus the way Korea was at the beginning of the 20th century). However, so far I really like what I've read and enjoy cuddling up with this issue as much as I do a certain arrogant Belgian detective.

Deb in the City

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Congratulations Libya

Congratulations to the brave Libyans who spent months fighting Qaddafi's forces. It appears that the army fell much more quickly than anyone had anticipated, and two of Qaddafi's son have been captured. Read more here.

I sincerely hope Libya doesn't find that the rebellion was the easy part.

Deb in the City

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For a laugh

I'm not happy about the riots in England. I get it, but I don't approve. And I'm heartsick over the deaths in Birmingham yesterday. Seeing young British Asians being killed reminds me of the violence the Korean Americans suffered during the LA riots in 1992. I understand why people with nothing would think that people who have a storefront- or maybe just a family- are better off than they are, but this is wrong. It is also wrong for people to state that it's a coincidence that these riots came on the heels of a global economic downturn, an austerity program and, oh right, revelations about collusion between the most powerful members of the British media organizations, political system and law enforcement agencies. It's not.

In my fair city, apparently there's a bit of a crisis brewing in Brighton. When you think of that area, you just don't think hostage.

So why did the announcement of Boehner and McConnell's picks for the Supercommittee (found via Shakesville) make me laugh so hard? Because John Not-Intended-To-Be-A-Factual-Statement Kyl is one of McConnell's picks.

That's okay- I had low expectations anyway.

Deb in the City

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It's the 21st century, right?

I saw this via a friend, and I'm ready to... vote my interests.



While the study Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concludes that it is more profitable to have a college degree, it looks like a woman with a Bachelor's is worth about as much as a man with some college but no degree.

Show this to anyone who argues that feminism has achieved its objectives, and then show it to people who need to be convinced that we need feminism- and feminists.

Deb in the City

Monday, August 08, 2011

The trouble with Diane Ravitch

There is nothing the American public loves like the story of someone seeing the light- especially when that person tried to turn them off.

Diane Ravitch is the former Assistant Secretary of Education who supported "accountability", charter schools and No Child Left Behind. Then, after seeing the data, concluded that those policies really weren't all that. I don't have to do any digging- she lays it all out in this Wall Street Journal piece.

So what's my problem?

I make a lot of good calls. Housing bubble? No, of course I wasn't surprised. Tech bubble? Obviously. The non-existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Please... Global warming? I've known about it since 1985. Is it because I'm psychic? Is it because I'm privy to top secret information? Or is it because I'm always right?

No, no and no. It's because I watch and listen to the news. Oh yeah- I also have a memory, and sometimes my share of common sense. That's how I knew the darlings of education reforms were going to be a disaster.

I remember a Boston Magazine education issue. I remember reading in that issue about the testing scandals Texas was experiencing. The author seemed to ask, "What do you expect to happen if you offer teachers bonuses for their students' test scores?" The answer, at least in some cases, was coordinated cheating. Imagine what could happen when you link that to a teacher's regular compensation. Now imagine that you link that to their job. And yet, for some reason, people are shocked that teachers would be doing this, whether it's the Atlanta scandal or some of the charter schools in Massachusetts.

I remember this article clearly because I had education on the brain at the time and I was deeply concerned. Not only was I pregnant with my second child but my oldest child had just started kindergarten. That's right- this was in 1999. (I'm sorry I can't find a link, but this should give you a little background.)

I read one little article in a regional magazine. Really, an Assistant Secretary of Education didn't have access to better data than I did?

When she says in the WSJ piece that No Child Left Behind had bipartisan support, I'm ready to choke. Yes, it did, and my state's Liberal Lion was one of the sponsors of the bill. But it did not have the support of any of the teachers and administrators I knew. They were dreading what they knew was the inevitable passage, because these people were experienced and, most importantly, not stupid. They knew that they would have to teach to a test for much of the school year; they knew that they would have to cut into time for arts programming; they knew that they would have to cut into recess. Most importantly, they knew that in many cases they were not going to succeed, because the schools have these children for eight or so hours per day, five days per week, nine months out of the year. There is plenty that goes on that they do not have any control over that influences a child's education. It is very difficult for a school or even a school system to do anything about a child whose parent has to work multiple jobs and then isn't as available for help with homework or even reading. It is also very hard to do anything about a child who is so poor that they are inadequately fed at home. Those things affect how well a child learns, and while some schools have tried very hard to address them, asking one part of a system to fix a systemic problem is ridiculous.

I knew this because I spoke with teachers and administrators. Did Ravitch really, truly not have access to any of these people? Or was she only talking to people who were already doing well on tests?

As for charter schools, it came as a surprise that they would not enroll as many children who did not speak English as their first language or students with disabilities? And are we supposed to be shocked that a school which is trying to "make its numbers" would ask the problem students to leave? Charters always sounded to me like a grand experiment being performed on children. Don't most experiments not give you the result you expect?

I don't blame Ravitch for No Child Left Behind or charter schools. She didn't write the legislation for NCLB, and she wasn't the one who conceived of the idea of charter schools. And she wasn't the only one who supported them, clearly. But I'd like to know now why everyone in the media is falling all over themselves about her when she was wrong. As far as I'm concerned, she's the David Stockman of the education world. I should listen to her now why? Because she agrees with me? Great- but the damage has been done, and it has been done to the children Charles Blow wrote about. If anyone deserved not to be experimented on, it was them. Welcome to the party, but you came just a little bit too late.

Many of those children have grown up and out of the public education system, and many of their families are probably thankful for that. But they should still be given the access to the education that they missed out on, not just so that they can get a job, but because they deserve it. As soon as Ravitch and everyone else who failed them comes up with a way to give that to them, I'll consider them rehabilitated. But until then, too little, too late.

Deb in the City

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I'm angry too

But let's not make it worse.

I'm not talking about the ratings downgrade, the budget deal that didn't include any revenues or the fact that I live in a country people are increasingly shaking their heads over. I'm talking about Mark Duggan, the 29 year old father of four who was killed in Tottenham, London last week.

The police were coming to arrest him while he was returning home. The family is reporting that he was shot so badly that they had trouble identifying him (that's in the last link in this post). The official story is that Duggan was killed in an exchange of fire. The family is strenuously denying this, and there are now reports that a bullet said to have been fired by Tottenham was actually police issue and therefore unlikely to have been fired him.

This is incendiary stuff, and thankfully doesn't happen as often in the UK as it does here. I'm glad people are angry about a young black man being shot by the police. That kind of thing happens too often around here.

But the riot on Sunday did nothing to improve matters. They don't usually. It sounds like the police have made family, friends and residents suspicious, but this doesn't get answers. This scares people, many of whom are probably also angry about what happened.

I'll be watching this closely. I hope the family gets the answers it deserves and quickly.

As for what could bring justice? I have no idea.

Deb in the City

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The present is just as important as the future

What I was hearing a lot on talk radio about four months ago was what I like to think of as the Education Dodge. If an economist- usually a mouthpiece for a think tank or a political party- was asked about jobs, he or she would invariably throw something in at the end of the long-winded answer that would sound something like, "But the real issue is education. We know our test scores and/or educational standards lag behind everyone else's, and that's why we have an unemployment problem [which would sometimes be compared to our global competitors]."

Really, dude? How is addressing current education policy going to get more adults currently in the workforce the jobs they need? Doesn't that seem a little backward? Wouldn't it make more sense to get more adults more jobs so we can increase our revenue base and have more money to spend on education? I'm all about being future-focused, but some immediate solutions are necessary, and when people answer a question about employment with a punt on education, I don't think they're serious about either subject.

But this column by Charles Blow is different. He's not asking you to look at these children so you won't look at the adults; he's asking you to imagine what these children look like as adults.

I won't quote it because it's short and easy to grasp- go click over and read the whole thing. The stats on poverty, homelessness and food stamps are dramatic enough that "we have to look at what the parents are doing" is not an effective rejoinder. We have a systemic problem, and this is a bigger deal than S & P's downgrade. It's also worse than Blow's column would lead you to believe: just ask a recent college grad or read the links I have in this post to get a sense of what people just out of childhood have to look forward to.

We have to stop looking at our crystal balls and look at what's right in front of us.

Deb in the City

The degradation of soft power

1. Via the Boston Globe, two more reasons I'd like to get our people out of Afghanistan:

+ A helicopter crash killed 31 American and 7 Afghan soldiers. The Taliban is claiming responsibility, but at this point it's unconfirmed.

There have been at least 17 coalition and Afghan aircraft crashes in Afghanistan this year. Most of the crashes are attributed to pilot errors, weather conditions or mechanical failures. However, the coalition has confirmed that at least one CH-47F Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade on July 25, injuring two crewmembers.


Some places you just shouldn't send soldiers into.

+ And this:

Meanwhile, NATO troops attacked a house and inadvertently killed eight members of a family, including women and children, in the southern Helmand province, an Afghan government official said Saturday.


There is very little that sparks gratitude like killing women and children, however unintentionally.

2. This article from the New York Times about the upcoming G7 meeting and, really, the burgeoning world wide debt crisis is prompting me to extend my criticism about politicians running their governments like reality shows to Europe.

“If they had agreed on those measures nine months ago it would have prevented the crisis from spiraling to this extent,” said Simon Tilford, the chief economist at the Center for European Reform in London. “But this is too little too late.”


+ Again: waiting until the last minute to make a dramatic move is exciting television (for some) but really poor governance. (I don't watch reality TV because you can smell how manufactured everything is, and I don't just mean in the editing.)

+ Old Europe, I thought better of you. For shame.

3. And China's pissed. I don't blame them.

"Mounting debts and ridiculous political wrestling in Washington have damaged America's image abroad," Xinhua said. "To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means."


+ As I said before, we look like jackasses. FYI, getting China to make a statement to that effect is not a positive development.

This statement from Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's former ambassador to the United Nations and the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, gets even more to the point.

"It's definitely undermined U.S. credibility," Mahbubani said late Friday. "Everyone is wondering if you have such a dysfunctional political process, how can you provide global leadership. It's very dangerous for the world."


+ I just love when someone thinks the U.S. is dangerous. (No, I don't.)

Deb in the City

Friday, August 05, 2011

That went well, part 2

Remember how we were told that we needed to accept a compromise because if we didn't it would mean that we would lose our Triple-A credit rating and that would mean the cost of doing business would become that much more expensive?

In the end, Standard & Poor's was underwhelmed with our compromise and they took us down a notch to AA+ anyway. Some are going to argue that this was because we didn't agree to lower the debt enough, but this is what's catching my eye:

"...the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.

"Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon," S&P added.


What calmed me down (believe it or not) during the Debt Ceiling Debalce was the belief that the GOP was, in the end, going to listen to the concerns of the business community about the serious effects this could have on our economy. Many did, but some did not. Despite the threat of a downgrade, some like Michele Bachmann continued to call for economic "tough love". Which is exactly what gets you out of a recession. (No, it's not.)

S & P is right- our effectiveness, stability and predictability have been weakened. If you think 1) it had to be this way or 2) getting someone to say that was a good thing, you're wrong.

Deb in the City

The right and wrong reactions

Congratulations, America! We gained 117,000 jobs in July, not the lousy 85,000 we thought we'd be looking at. Oh yeah- in June we gained 46,000 jobs and not 18,000 as we had originally thought. America: not only beating expectations, but beating our own performance.

But before anyone gets too excited, I'd like to remind people of a number Paul Krugman threw around two years ago: 300,000. That's the number of jobs we'd need to gain every month to recover within five years. (Note: he wrote this in 2009. We have not gained an average 300,000 jobs per month between now and then.)

When Krugman wrote this, his perspective was "maybe we shouldn't throw a party because we lost fewer jobs than we did the month before." My reaction two years later is that we shouldn't buy streamers and hats to celebrate gaining less than half of the jobs we needed to either.

You can argue about my reaction, you can argue about Krugman's calculations- I mean, it's on a blog called "Conscience of a Liberal"- but most people would agree that we need more jobs. Even Eric Cantor agrees with that. Just watch as three different reporters from CNBC question him about the data. I'll be here in six minutes.

I think you can guess that I do not agree with Representative Cantor that extending the unemployment benefits is a bad idea. (That's at about the 3:40 mark on the video.) Yes, what people will benefit most from is a good job, but before you cut off those benefits, have a plan for ensuring that those jobs will be available. FYI: jobs at Wal-Mart do not qualify.

(To anyone in the Republican party who says that it's time we tried something different since our current policies are not working, I agree. First thing to shelve: the Bush Tax Cuts.)

But there is a glimmer of good news: it looks like unemployment among African-Americans and Latinos is just really bad and still worse than the average but not Depression bad. Maybe we can get some noisemakers for that?

No, I didn't think so.

Deb in the City

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What is the value of going nuclear?

I found this loveliness from Mitch McConnell via Shakesville and Media Nation.

“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”


This is the Minority Leader of the United States Senate, right? Our budget is worth ransoming? This guy is a key representative of the party who goes on about the need to be fiscally responsible?

Are we going to go through this reality show drama every time we need to raise the debt ceiling? Is this good for the economy? Is this good for our country?

Excuse me, I grew up in the Eighties. We were afraid of people using nuclear bombs and we didn't brag about how badass we were for contemplating it. Because we knew that one bomb wasn't going to destroy the world, but the succession of retaliatory strikes would be what did us in. Back then being a Serious Adult meant you were willing to show some restraint in public when you talked about serious things.

I am reduced to pining for the good old days of the Eighties.

What?

Deb in the City

Don't worry, it's just CNN

According to CNN.com, the job recovery is slowing. I mean, it's a good thing no one thinks jobs are key to making a full economic recovery. (Does someone need a link for that?)

But the story about the Dagong Global Credit Rating Company in China downgrading the U.S's credit rating is so much better. It's just China, those slimeball investors who got us into this mess in the first place, right? (No, that is not right.)

In the category of "it's funny because it's true":

"The squabbling between the two political parties on raising the U.S. debt ceiling reflected an irreversible trend on the United States' declining ability to repay its debts," Dagong Chairman Guan Jianzhong told CNN.

"The two parties acted in a very irresponsible way and their actions greatly exposed the negative impact of the U.S. political system on its economic fundamentals," he said.


Yeah...

On the one hand, this is a relatively new agency and their ratings don't hold as much water as Moody's, Fitch and Standard and Poor's. On the other hand, the 2008 subprime crisis damaged the reputations of those firms.

I hope this rating doesn't end up making it more expensive for us to borrow money, but even it doesn't, the word is out. We looked like a country filled with jackasses this last month.

Deb in the City

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

That went well

I saw this via Shakesville: looks like the Dow fell by a notable amount.

You mean austerity doesn't inspire investor confidence?

The NYT feels even worse about it. (Oh they would, wouldn't they? That liberal rag.) Please read the whole thing, but here are a couple of quotes I loved.

“As the macro data comes out, it seems like we may have more on our hands than just getting the debt ceiling raised,” said Myles Zyblock, chief institutional strategist and managing director of capital markets research at RBC Capital Markets.

“We get no default, but the bad news is there is a growth trade-off,” he said. “They had to agree on fiscal contraction that would weigh on growth.”


And this:

“The challenges that we are facing economically are that the hits just keep coming,” said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors. “We do have somewhat of a resolution to our budgetary impasse, but that does not overwhelm the fact that economically speaking that the data continues to deteriorate.”


You know, I'm glad we spent so long on whether we would raise the debt ceiling instead of approving it as we have countless times over several decades. Because there was nothing else going on that was worthy of our attention in the economy.

I am genuinely hoping for better news tomorrow but I'm not wasting my energy about the jobs data on Friday. I think we all know what that's going to look like.

Deb in the City

I'd rather talk about the debt-ceiling

Roger Cohen's column today has me tearing up. (This is my version of moving on from the debt ceiling debate.) Wouldn't it be great if apartheid, eugenics and ethnic cleansing were distant memories of our parents and we could shake our heads in disbelief?

And in more feel good from the NYT, here's this piece, via a friend, about the starving Somalis who can't leave the country. (Don't look at the photos if you're faint of heart.) This piece from the Boston Globe about suffering through the famine during Ramadan just highlights the insult to injury.

So... has the Senate voted yet?

Deb in the City

Monday, August 01, 2011

Cookies for Capuano

Allow me to be cheerful about something.

I am not shocked that the House passed the compromise bill that I've been bellyaching about all day. Here is the roll call, and no, I have no idea why this has a title about the Education Science Reform Act of 2002, but this was voted on at 7:09 tonight with exactly the breakdown the press is reporting about the bill, so I'm going with this as my source. (Here- the NYT has an easier to read breakdown.)

The important things to look at are the names. I am zooming in on Capuano. He voted No, and I like to think the fact that I called him this afternoon had a little bit of something to do with that. Or it could be that he's been in the House long enough to do a little math and figured out that he could vote his conscience without being held responsible for a failure to pass. But that's not the point. He did what I wanted. It remains to be seen what happens with my Senators tomorrow, but I think I already know.

Someone else on another blog is so happy that her Rep did the same thing that she would like to bake him or her (I'm not sure) cookies. I think that's a great idea, and I'd like to bake cookies for Capuano as well. I'd also be inclined to give them to Olver, Neal, McGovern, Frank (and I don't usually want to give him anything), Tierney and Markey.

70% is totally chocolate chip worthy.

Deb in the City

That sinking feeling

For the twenty or so people who already "heard" me say this, forgive me for repeating myself. For everyone else, I want you to know that I haven't felt this bad about the future of our country since the Bush Tax Cuts were passed. Having to watch the whole thing unfold and being unable to stop it is the worst part.

There are many summaries out there, but here is what the NYT has to say about the Debt Ceiling agreement. My two comments:

+ Obama never blinked? What would blinking have looked like? Were increased revenues really so easy to give up?

+ It's true: most Democrats do not like the idea of deficit reduction in the middle of a weak recovery that still sees 9%+ unemployment.

Thank you, Representative Pelosi, for being non-committal at this point, but I fully expect that you're going to bring as many of the Democrats along for this. Tomorrow is the deadline, and everyone in Washington seems to think that they should be running the negotiations as if they're on a reality show: shove the work into the last ten minutes of the episode. Exciting viewing, poor governance.

I'll leave you with this link: Exactly.

Deb in the City