American Culture

Nota Bene #46

Link of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

Shaun Mullen at the Moderate Voice:

It is no accident that there are so many older African-Americans waiting in the long lines at early voting stations. These folks have long memories and they fear that they won’t be able to vote on Election Day because of the usual reasons given for suppressed minority turnouts — faulty machines, improper registration cards, not enough poll workers.

Obama on McCain, as reported by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:

He’s not fighting for Joe the Plumber; he’s fighting for Joe the Hedge Fund Manager.

Joe Klein:

“There are a thousand instinctive, instantaneous decisions that a presidential candidate has to make in the course of a campaign. . . and this has been a. . . difficult journey for Obama, since he’s far more comfortable when he’s able to think things through. “He has learned to trust his gut,” an Obama adviser told me. “. . . It’s been the biggest change I’ve seen in him.”

In “If Elected. . . How Would a President Obama Govern?,” Jennifer Loven of AP writes:

For all Barack Obama’s talk about change, there are signs that in style — if not substance — a new White House under Democrat Obama would operate much like the current one under President Bush. Think discipline, efficiency and secrecy. These are hallmarks of Obama’s campaign, just as they have been for the last eight years in the leak-proof, tightly managed Bush administration.

Jonathan Schell at the Nation:

‘Change,’ indeed! — not the kind ‘we can believe in.’ … but. . . salvation — are the need of the hour: rescue we can believe in.

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker on Sarah Palin:

My husband called it first. Then, a brilliant 75-year-old scholar and raconteur confessed to me over wine: “I’m sexually attracted to her. I don’t care that she knows nothing.”


With the prospect of a bone-crushing election defeat staring them full in the face, the diehard rump of the conservative movement is already busy fashioning a narrative to explain the dissolution of its world — the one that Ronald Reagan built. … And the emerging story line appears to be, roughly, that ACORN did it.

Paul Krugman:

I thought that the whole point of the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. . . was to remove fears about their solvency. … But top officials have made a point of denying that Fannie and Freddie debt is backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the U.S. government — and as a result, markets are still treating the agencies’ debt as a risky asset, driving mortgage rates up. … the Bush administration’s anti-government ideology still stands in the way of effective action.

In Ask the Pilot at Salon Patrick Smith writes:

In 2002, a National Geographic survey revealed that 85 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 24 could locate neither Afghanistan nor Iraq on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find Great Britain, and nearly 33 percent of young Americans believed the U.S. population to be between 1 billion and 2 billion.
That may be the most astonishing survey of this type of all time.

Also at Salon, Jon Marks interviews Stephen King:

If you had to handicap which major catastrophe will take down human civilization in your lifetime, where would you put your money?

Nuclear weapons. No doubt about it. There are days when I get up and say, I cannot believe, I cannot fucking believe that it’s been more than 50 years since one of those things got popped on an actual population.
Nothing in his novels is nearly as frightening.

From an article about the ’70s singer and model, “A HREF=”Grace Jones and the mother of all comebacks,” in the London Times:

Grace deigned to show up the following evening, whereupon, my sources tell me, she had a noisy on-set bust-up. . . then proceeded to make everyone work through the night, announcing, in her low boom: ‘I don’t do daytimes’.


At the Mercury News in California, Daniel Brown writes:

Before becoming the new boss, Mike Singletary sought permission from the old one. He tracked down [just-fired San Francisco 49ers coach] Mike Nolan, his longtime friend, for an emotional conversation. “Before I could say a word,” Singletary recalled, “he just said, ‘I want you to take this job.'”

Did honor do Nolan in? Will it do the same to Singletary?

3 replies »

  1. As much as I dislike Krugman, I’m not speaking in out of turn when I say that he’s not revealing the entire story. It’s not only Fannie and Freddie debt spreads that are widening vs. treasuries….all government agency debt spreads are widening, and widening hugely. This is like free money.

    The Minneapolis Fed published a paper today noting that banking loan activity is way up over last year. It’s only the interbank loans that are nonexistent.