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The ballad of easy rider

The Byrds:

Brush with greatness

Sitting at the same table with David Dayen, who got linked to by Krugman today.

Oh, look

The GAO just released their finding that there was no reason for the congressional abolition of ACORN.

Better late than never, I suppose. Thanks to the Democratic leadership for sticking it to our ally because they were so afraid of the controversy.

The political brain

Listening to Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain, one of my favorite political writers. He does message strategy, and is one of the few people in this business speaking common sense.

Overparenting

I’ve seen this myself. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a perfect parent – but isn’t that the point? My kids learned to adapt. They’re self-supporting, smart and have never been in trouble. I give them more credit than me, they figured things out for themselves:

(NEWSER) – Working as a therapist upended everything Lori Gottlieb thought she had learned about parenting, she writes in an Atlantic piece certain to stir a Tiger Mom-sized controversy. Gottlieb found many depressed, anxious patients on her couch—who instead of recounting their horrible childhoods, waxed poetic about their loving parents who cared about nothing more than their happiness. Modern parents, she realizes, may be creating unhappy adults by caring so much about their children’s happiness that they insulate them from discomfort and criticism, leaving them unable to handle the setbacks of adult life.

Much like the immune system needs to be exposed to pathogens, “kids also need exposure to discomfort, failure, and struggle,” a child psychologist tells Gottlieb. “I know parents who call up the school to complain if their kid doesn’t get to be in the school play or make the cut for the baseball team.” Parents may be mistaking their own emotional needs for their children’s, creating a generation of narcissists as a result, Gottlieb writes. “By trying so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up,” she writes. “Maybe we parents are the ones who have some growing up to do—and some letting go.”

Worse

Imagine. Our housing crisis is officially now worse than the Great Depression:

It’s official: The housing crisis that began in 2006 and has recently entered a double dip is now worse than the Great Depression.

Prices have fallen some 33 percent since the market began its collapse, greater than the 31 percent fall that began in the late 1920s and culminated in the early 1930s, according to Case-Shiller data.

The news comes as the Federal Reserve considers whether the economy has regained enough strength to stand on its own and as unemployment remains at a still-elevated 9.1 percent, throwing into question whether the recovery is real.

“The sharp fall in house prices in the first quarter provided further confirmation that this housing crash has been larger and faster than the one during the Great Depression,” Paul Dales, senior economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, wrote in research for clients.

According to Case-Shiller, which provides the most closely followed housing industry data, prices dropped 1.9 percent in the first quarter, a move that the firm interpreted as a clear double dip in prices.

Moreover, Dales said prices likely have not completed their downturn.

Decisions, decisions

Let’s see: “Intense criticism” versus dead poor people. Decisions, decisions!

Of course, if we had a liberal Democrat in the White House, he probably wouldn’t have bought into the Republican strategy of attacking the deficit during a major recession. Even more to the point, he would have attacked the real root cause of the governors’ revenue shortfall: Their refusal to raise taxes on business and the wealthy.

But as I like to say, “If pigs had wings, they could fly.”

Faced with severe budget problems, Republican governors are escalating their fight against federal rules requiring states to maintain current levels of health-care coverage for the poor and disabled.

The growing resistance to the federal government over the hugely expensive Medicaid program poses a critical test for President Obama, who has the power to relax the rules for states.

If he allows states to tighten eligibility requirements, it would outrage many of his core supporters while undermining the central goal of his signature health-care law: expanding health insurance coverage. But if the president turns his back on governors struggling to gain control of their finances by trimming their most costly program, he risks intense criticism just as his administration is locked in a battle with Republicans over the nation’s soaring debt.

“There is a growing impatience among governors,” said Mike Schrimpf, communications director for the Republican Governors Association. “As the Medicaid portion of state budgets grows, the issue becomes even more pressing.

Let’s be honest. The real “issue” is that they’re afraid Grover Norquist, the Club for Growth and/or the Tea Party will fund primary challenges against them. And because the Republicans have allowed the extreme right wing to dictate their policies, they want the president to rescue them by allowing states to kill more poor people, Don’t kid yourself, that’s what happening here.

And any president who cooperates with this is not on our side.

How bad is the economy?

SO bad, even cable companies have noticed:

For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern.

Executives from News Corp, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, speaking at the annual Cable Show industry event, made clear the industry needed a stronger housing market and better jobs picture to win new customers and keep existing ones.

“We have to be sensitive in making sure we have a product that consumers can afford,” said Pat Esser, president of privately held Cox Communications, speaking at the industry’s biggest yearly event.

Investors and analysts, with a few exceptions, can often be heard worrying more about how the cable industry will cope with cheaper entertainment packages from rivals such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc or Google Inc.

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, however, was one of the executives focusing on the hazards of a bad economy.

“There clearly is a growing underclass of people who clearly can’t afford it,” he said. “It would serve us well to worry about that group.”

Health insurance

Great Carl Hiaasen column on governors who have suddenly become constitutional purists.

Nice people

Minnesotans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. My waitress last night told me to get a cup of tea in the lobby because “I wouldn’t feel right charging you for it.” The chef who cooked my omelet thanked me profusely when I told him how to use Priceline to get a cheaper airline ticket.

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