Keith Olbermann sat down with Seymour Hersh to discuss his latest article, which can be found in this week’s New Yorker. Here’s a great segment with one of the best investigative journalists in the country.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Listen to what Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) had to say today on the Senate floor:
He’s more concerned with the “economics of this thing.” Just file this statement away for now.
Ok, I’ll play along. Global warming doesn’t exist. Ignore the fact that it’s SNOWING IN OKLAHOMA, because that just proves that it’s colder than pro-global warming scientists would have us believe, right Senator? Let’s talk, as Sen. Inhofe does, about the economics of this thing, through light bulbs.
I can get one 14 watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), which is equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb, for $2.70. This bulb will last, on average, 10,000 hours. Assuming that I keep my lights on for six hours a day, two hours in the morning and four hours in the evening, my light bulb will last for approximately four-and-a-half years (10,000/(365 x 6)=4.57).
I can also get one 60 watt incandescent bulb for about $0.84. This bulb will last on average 1,500 hours. Making the same usage assumptions as above one bulb should last just over two-thirds of the year (1,500/(365 x 6)=0.68). In four-and-a-half years, I would go through about six incandescent light bulbs. Six light bulbs at $0.84 each totals $5.04.
Therefore, I spent $1.86 more up front on the CFL, but I saved $2.34 over the life of the bulb. I’m just under $0.40 from making my money back! That’s just one light bulb! Start talking millions of light bulbs and you can see true savings. I won’t even mention the savings I will see on my electricity bill. It doesn’t take a genius to know that 14 watts is less than 60 watts.
This is why Sen. Inhofe’s argument is flawed. He argues that because the science of global warming is not conclusive, then it’s not necessary to make any changes because, as I hear his argument, he thinks the economy cannot handle the expense. He said that he didn’t want to distract people from the real cost. I will concede that it is more expensive up front. I will not concede the long term savings. When I say long term, I mean for at least the rest of my lifetime.
Sen. Inhofe’s argument, along with the rest of the anti-global warming movement is short sighted and wrong. I come to this conclusion not through science, but through math.
DSCC Up With “Hit & Run” Ad – Attempts to Cement GOP Economy Responsibility and Obstructionist Image
Here’s a new ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that claims “[T]he Republicans have done a hit & run with our economy.” Per Sam Stein at the Huffington Post:
Titled "They Broke It And Won't Fix It," the campaign is a clear reminder that the Democratic Party still sees political capital to gain from the previous administration. The accompanying video accuses Republicans of pulling a "hit and run with our economy" by following the policies of the George W. Bush.
Asked who was responsible for the economic meltdown, 80 percent in the poll blamed banks, financial institutions and corporations. Some 70 percent also blamed consumers for taking on too much debt and the former Bush administration for lax regulation. Only 26 percent said the Obama administration was not doing enough to turn the situation around.
Two-thirds of respondents approve of the way Obama is handling the presidency, and 60 percent approve of the way he is handling the economy.
I’m not going to lie, this makes me very happy. When you follow politics like I do, it’s difficult to remain optimistic when right keeps shouting and the media keeps passing those shouts as gospel, i.e. teleprompters and socialism. I’m not so naive to believe that these numbers won’t last forever, but seeing as how bad things are, it’s good to know that the majority of the people are behind our President.
The Chicago Sun-Times filed for bankruptcy protection this morning. This means that both major papers in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune being the other, have filed for bankruptcy. It’s not the end of the world as both papers continue to plug along, but it’s not good news either.
I used to live in Chicago and got both papers regularly. As a Sox fan, I always read the Sun-Times on the train to work. They had the better coverage. The Tribune had a Cubs slant, and I prefer to follow winners (Yeah, you heard that right D! I’m not joking around about it either, Pers!). If I wanted to know what was going on in local mob news or in the corrupted state government, then I read the Sun-Times. If I wanted to know what was going on in the world, then I read the Tribune. Both provided excellent coverage.
Regardless, it’s a sad day.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I have made it a point to avoid mentioning Ann Coulter in these pages, but I can’t pass this up. The Colorado Independent spins a true yarn of conservatives eating each other from the inside out. Donner Party analogies are way too easy with this one.
It appears that during her radio show, Ms. Coulter has been getting ambushed by “ultra-conservative, Christian talk-radio hosts” who blast her for supporting Mitt Romney. The right to lifers don’t seem to believe Mr. Romney’s change of heart when it comes to abortion issues. Back when he was Governor of Massachusetts, he was pro-choice. His stance conveniently changed to pro-life when he became a Republican candidate for President in 2008. These guys call her up and ask her to renounce her endorsement, to which, she does that magic that she usually reserves for liberals, i.e. yells at them and calls them names, and hangs up on them. They responded with a video of greatest hang-up hits on You Tube.
I don’t think I need to spell this out. Like the Donner Party, the conservatives are lost, stranded, and have resorted to eating each other to live. It’ll be interesting to see which one survives. Sadly, the choices are dumb and dumber.
If you haven’t already, and you think that the President’s proposed budget is the kind of plan that will return strength, confidence and prosperity to this country, then please call your representatives and tell them that you are in favor of the plan.
It is so very easy to do. I called a couple of weeks ago and left messages for my congressman and both senators. I assure you it’s painless. Actually, voting is harder as you don’t have to wait in line, let alone leave your house. When you call, be polite and briefly explain the reasons for your call.
As I see it, this budget is about building a new America for the twenty-first century. It’s a plan that invests in education, believing that a smarter workforce ultimately builds a stronger, more peaceful society. It’s a plan that values human life by investing in affordable, quality health care for all. Finally, it’s a plan that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in a new, modern energy infrastructure, which will be just as good for the environment as it will on our pocket books.
I will concede that no plan is perfect, but this plan is better than most. If you believe, as I do, that this is the path this country should take, then please call your representatives.
Remember, this is what we voted for and our President is doing everything he can to keep his promises. Let’s get together and make sure that those promises are realized.
Make the call.
Jerk Store – Texas Gov. Perry Passes on Stimulus Funds for Unemployed, Screws the Small Businesses He Claims to Protect in the Process
Jerk Store! Jerk Store! They’re all over town! Jerk Store! Jerk Store! Biggest Jerks Around!
Hi, Folks! Welcome to the Jerk Store, home of the biggest jerks around. You know, if it weren’t for these Republican governors turning down stimulus money, the Jerk Store would be feeling the recession pinch, just like the rest of you. Lucky for us, there’s more than enough jerks to go around. I’m not bragging when I say, we’re flush!
This week, we’ve got a fresh shipment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Instead of helping the people of his state, Gov. Perry, like Jerk Store favorites Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina before him, would rather play politics. According to NPR, Gov. Perry is rejecting “$555 million in unemployment insurance” which would “increase the number of of people eligible for benefits.” Gov. Perry says,
This is an expansion of the [unemployment] program. This administration wants to force the state of Texas and other states with this stimulus money to change our practices, change our habits, change the way that we govern. And on this unemployment-insurance side, the message is very clear: Thank you, but no thank you.
You tell ‘em partner! Ain’t nobody gonna tell Texas how Texas is gonna do things, dag nab it!
Meanwhile, according to the report, “100,000 Texans lost their jobs in the first two months of the year. State businesses could have their unemployment taxes doubled to meet the demand. So reject the stimulus money, and businesses pay now. Take it, and businesses pay later when the money runs out.” In other words, the unemployed don’t get any help because you’re proud and small businesses pick up the slack because you’re dumb. The slack would have been delayed, but that would have gone against your jerk ass, proud principles, wouldn’t it, Governor.
Well, this Jerk Store owner says, go right on ahead and pride yourself right out of a job, Gov. Perry! As famous former Texas Governor once said, You’re doing a heckuva job!
Per Media Matters:
During the March 27 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Molly Henneberg falsely claimed that "[r]econciliation was last used in 2001 by Republicans to pass the first Bush tax cuts." In fact, Republicans used the budget reconciliation process to pass several major Bush initiatives after 2001, as the blog Think Progress recently noted. These initiatives include the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. Reconciliation was used as recently as 2007, when the Democratic Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.
During her report, Henneberg described reconciliation as a "maneuver" that congressional Democrats may use "to achieve some of President Obama's more controversial budget priorities, including health-care reform and a cap-and-trade energy policy."
So let’s give Ms. Henneberg the benefit of the doubt and suppose that she wasn’t trying to mislead. She still failed at basic research and fact checking. I’d love to make her kind of money, especially since I would only be responsible for a half-assed job.
But we know better, don’t we. Fox News is fully aware of what they’re doing. Yellow journalism is back, folks!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Truth is, your boy here, Andrew T. has had a few beers and a couple of glasses of good ass wine. I’m a little bummed because Notre Dame Hockey lost and is done for the season. Also, Pitt lost effectively nailing the coffin shut on any hope for pool winnings. Therefore, it is essential to bust out some jams. I give you classic GbV from ‘94. Enjoy!
Right Wingers Falsely Claim that GIVE Act Represents First Steps To “National Security Force,” Marxism
H.R. 1388, Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act, is being attacked by the right for including “disturbing language indicating young people will be forced to undertake mandatory national service programs as fears about President Barack Obama’s promised ‘civilian national security force’ intensify.”
This idea of a “promised ‘civilian national security force’” comes from this clip from last year’s campaign:
That obviously means that he wants to create some sort of SS for the homeland to keep the citizens in line, right? Therefore, this public service bill must be the first step in creating this homeland, secret police army seeing as it’s a “mandatory” service bill, right? At the very least, it’s a legal way to inject liberal thinking and policy into the minds of Americans, right?
First, it should come as no surprise that the quote was taken out of context. In the speech, Mr. Obama was discussing public service. He wanted to strengthen AmeriCorps, the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, as well as getting experts in volunteer positions, like vets helping vets and teachers helping at troubled schools. The point was that he wanted to create a core group of civilian volunteers that could help in situations where the military has normally been used, as in disaster relief. Instead of sending the military, at great expense, the country could have a core group of trained, equipped volunteers that could mobilize in an instant. If these volunteers are stationed at the community level, then it wouldn’t cost as much to spring into action and help the people in need. Don’t we all want to save money and curb Government spending?
To come to this conclusion, it would require some reading and knowledge of Google, which, obviously, is more difficult than <forward>, <send> which is much easier, as is reading the first paragraph of everything. I digress.
So, we come to the GIVE bill, which was bipartisan, passed easily in both the House and the Senate and will soon be signed into law, a rare feat these days.
This does not stop these right wing conspiracy theorists. Infowars.com states:
Under section 6104 of the bill, entitled “Duties,” in subsection B6, the legislation states that a commission will be set up to investigate, “Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”
First, I don’t want to nit-pick, but a quick <ctrl>+<f> of the bill indicates that neither the quote or section 6104 exists. Let’s suppose it does. So what. They’re going to set up a commission to see if a “workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people” is possible. It is very possible that they cannot find a “workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement.” Hey, ultra-conservative, you win. You can now go find something else to fear. However, if they do find a solution, then WE ALL WIN because our children will grow up to be responsible citizens. They will have experience helping the elderly, the sick, and the homeless. They’ll clean parks and streets and generally make this a better country to live in. What’s wrong with that?
Second, Infowars.com follows with
Section 120 of the bill also discusses the “Youth Engagement Zone Program” and states that “service learning” will be “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.”
Section 120 does exist, as does this quote. Again, so what. They want to make a public service class mandatory in high school. Seriously, big deal. Kids will learn about helping the elderly, the sick, and the homeless as well as learning about caring for your neighborhood and community. What’s wrong with that?
I know what the problem is. These people are 1) pissed off that they lost the election 2) used to be in power and aren’t anymore 3) scared of change and 4) scared of the changes that are being proposed. Gone are the days where their leaders tell them familiar phrases like “go shopping” which requires no sacrifice on their part.
Frankly, these people need to get over themselves. This isn’t about them and their perceived attack on the American way of life. It’s about all of us and what this country could be if we all banded together. The problem is that they see that as a attempt to create a Marxist society. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Obama and Biden will call on citizens of all ages to serve. They'll set a goal that all middle school and high school students engage in 50 hours of community service a year, and develop a plan for all college students who engage in 100 hours of community service to receive a fully-refundable tax credit of $4,000 for their education. Obama and Biden will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
50 hours a year is less than an hour a week. As for the 100 hours for college students, yes, that is the all-American tax credit for service that goes toward the individual’s education. $4,000 for school in exchange for less than two hours of community service per week. Stronger country through service and stronger workforce through education.
They are right in one regard, this is a social upheaval. But it’s not an effort to create the American version of the USSR or Nazi Germany. It’s the idea that together, through volunteering free time, free time wasted getting fat in front of the television, we can make this country so much better.
It’s not Communist, it’s Christian.
The topic this week’s Presidential address was to update the nation on the situation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota as massive flooding affects the region. He details the Government’s rescue efforts and assures us that they are doing everything they can to ease suffering.
He also discusses the hard work of the men and women who volunteered to fill sandbags in order to save their communities from the water. According to the President, volunteers at the Fargodome filled 2.5 million sandbags in just five days. Others worked in adverse conditions to build up the levies around the river. He uses these and other examples of self sacrifice to argue that people all over the country have made positive differences in their communities through volunteerism.
Finally, President Obama expresses gratitude for the passage of the bipartisan public service bill, which will, according to a Reuters report, “establish and expand community service programs to work in education and healthcare, respond to disasters, provide opportunities for low-income individuals and help military veterans as well as developing countries.”
Friday, March 27, 2009
Yesterday, I posted this piece on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in which I said she was a “bat-shit crazy lady.” I’ve thought a little bit about it and wonder if maybe she’s not crazy but this genius of media manipulation. You know, like saying crazy things to get press? How does the saying go? There is no such thing as bad press?
Fortunately for us, she blew any sympathies I may have had to kingdom come. Talking Points Memo reports that she was on the Hannity radio revival calling for revolution to fight impending onslaught of economic Marxists:
At this point the American people - it's like Thomas Jefferson said, a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point, Sean, of revolution. And by that, what I mean, an orderly revolution -- where the people of this country wake up get up and make a decision that this is not going to happen on their watch. It won't be our children and grandchildren that are in debt. It is we who are in debt, we who will be bankrupting this country, inside of ten years, if we don't get a grip. And we can't let the Democrats achieve their ends any longer.
"If Tim Geithner is successful under President Obama, and they move us to an international currency," Bachmann warned, "Then we have no hope of standing on our own as a sovereign nation with our own economic system. It's over. We can't do that."
As we proved yesterday, there is no plan to move us to an international currency. Also, there is no plan to move us toward a Marxist or socialist or any other –ist economy or government. Nobody is talking about the government taking your home and telling you where to live and nobody is taking over your workplace and telling you were to work. It’s ignorance and fear mongering and I’m calling it out!
Minnesota District 6, please, please, please, vote this woman out of office! For the rest of you, be smart and don’t fall for scare tactics like this.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
read more | digg story
Hear ye, hear ye! Congressional Republicans bring you the plan that will return this country to it’s rightful place at the head of the world’s table. Just look at this chart and bow down to the awesome power of the Republican alternative budget! That’s right, this is the plan that is going to save this country from mortal doom. But wait, there’s more. 19 pages of words more! These pages clearly explain what they have been saying on TV. However, instead of words leaving their mouths and vanishing into the air, the same words are permanently printed on a page for all to see! And, don’t worry about math because you won’t find any numbers here. Let’s be honest, math is for nerds anyway.
Kneel fools! Kneel before the awesome power of the Republican alternative budget! They have always known what is best for you and that applies today!
Oh, the entertainment machine that is Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). I have more hand slaps to forehead with this chick than a bad night of karaoke. I first heard of her late in last year’s election when she called for an investigation to see who is “pro-America or anti-America,” the latter, of course, meant people that don’t see things as she does. Then, just a little over a month ago, she claimed that this country was running out of rich people. Wha? Really? Yes, this is one bat-shit crazy lady.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that she has “introduced a resolution that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.” Wha? Yep, you heard that right, and she wants the Obama administration to come clean on their intentions too! Unfortunately for clown shoes here, there never was any intention to remove the dollar as the nation’s currency. Tim Geithner made mention that he’s open to a Chinese proposal for a new global currency to replace the dollar, which he quickly tap danced around and backed off. Obama flat out rejected it at the press conference. But seeing as how there’s concrete separating the ears of the dishonorable representative from Minnesota, she missed it and gathered the pitch forks and torches instead.
I’m surprised she wasn’t at the Britney Spears concert.
From last night’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann updates the current budget battle and chats with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It is a very interesting conversation and a must view for anybody who’s interested in the proposed budget.
The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism offers “The State of the News Media” and, surprise, it’s not too kind. The Center for American Progress breaks down the report here. If this isn’t sad, then I don’t know what is:
According to the report, obsessive, often irrelevant horserace coverage of the election eclipsed all other news. It accounted for 59 percent of the cable newshole in 2008, while coverage of the economy accounted for only 10 percent. (That number is opposed to 36 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in the media over all.) Meanwhile, coverage of Iraq War fell everywhere, but it positively crashed on cable. Cable coverage of Iraq fell nearly 90 percent, and, shamefully, it accounted for just 2 percent of overall coverage.
This dynamic was at work on Tuesday night during President Obama’s press conference. CNN’s Ed Henry tried to goad Obama into a cable-style contretemps, demanding to know:
“Why is it that it seems Andrew Cuomo seems to be, in New York, getting more actual action on it? And when you and Secretary Geithner first learned about this, 10 days, two weeks ago, you didn’t go public immediately with that outrage. You waited a few days, and then you went public after you realized Secretary Geithner really had no legal avenue to stop it.”
Henry was so excited by this prospect, he used his follow-up to repeat himself: “Why did you wait—why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York in the attorney general’s office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, look, we’re outraged. Why did it take so long?”
Obama offered up just about the most un-cable news sentence anyone could possibly utter: [B]ecause I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
In an interview with the Washington Times, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) proposed an “across-the-board” spending freeze saying that it would be the best way to get control of government spending as well as putting a stop to Obama’s “socialist” agenda.
Mr. Grassley told editors and reporters at the Washington Times that a spending freeze is necessary to get the federal deficit under control and to show voters that the government is capable of living within its means in hard times.
“what you get when you have an across-the-board freeze is everybody is seen as contributing something,” Mr. Grassley said.
While I’m all for everybody living within their means, is a spending freeze the best idea, especially with the economy as it is?
Tonight, on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, David Shuster posed the same question to Daniel Gross, Senior Editor at Newsweek.
I guess not. But you already knew that, didn’t you.
Mike: Hi, Jenny! Say, this teleprompter Obama thing is pretty funny, isn’t it? it’s not just funny, it’s wet your pants funny, right?
Jenny: That’s right Mike! I mean, the guy has a 60+% approval rating. He’s constantly shitting in our Republican soup by proving time and again that the world as we knew it was wrong and our leaders have no ideas to combat, or defend, this affront to our way of life. Confidence is low, isn’t it Mike?
Mike: Sure is! But you know, when you’re down like that, and you need a boost of confidence, then do what the high school kids do, tease him until he moves away!
Jenny: But Mike, he just won the election, and he just moved in, which means we’re stuck with him for three years and three-hundred and one days.
Mike: Ugh. Ok, fine, he won’t move, but we sure can make him feel stupid! So come on everybody! Let’s attack him at the source of his power: His Teleprompter!
Jenny: See, Samson was nothing without his hair and, alas, Obama is nothing without his teleprompter. You know it’s true. I mean, it’s on Fox News as well as Politico and David Gregory said something about it on NBC!
Mike: (jumping around) It’s true, it’s true, he can’t speak without his teleprompter!!! He’s so stupid, so dumb!!! Ha Ha Ha! I bet you feel better already, don’t you Jenny?
Jenny: Hey, I got an idea, let’s settle in and watch the train wreck that is going to be this press conference.
Mike: Yeah! Let’s watch him squirm!
(they sit down and turn on Fox News)
Mike: See, I told you. Right off the bat, he’s reading. Told you!
Jenny: He sucks! Ok, here’s the first question.
Mike: Wait for it, stammer starts now…any second now…any second. Ok, what’s going on here. He’s maintaining eye contact and giving a clear answer! What’s going on?!? No, this can’t be!!! This can’t be!!!
Jenny: Mike, you said…
Mike: I didn’t say shit! Oh this guy…oh, I’m so mad! I’m so freaking mad!!!
See kids, the lesson learned here is that the teleprompter is not his main source of power. To paraphrase Ice-T, his lethal weapon is his mind!
Yes, I am taking liberties. The Guardian UK reports that The Pentagon will no longer use the term “Global War on Terror.”
A message sent recently to senior Pentagon staff explains that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term Long War or Global War On Terror (Gwot) ... please pass this on to your speechwriters". Instead, they have been asked to use a bureaucratic phrase that could hardly be further from the fiery rhetoric of the months immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The global war on terror is dead; long live "overseas contingency operations".
Reuters delivers some more good economy news. They report that mortgage applications were up last week fueled by record low interest rates. The majority of the applications were for refinancing.
"The housing market is coming back, but not roaring back," (Leif Thomsen, chief executive of Mortgage Master in Walpole, Massachusetts) said. "We have gone from a crawl to a brisk walk and we will still have to navigate some pitfalls before we are able to get running again."
It’s not that super good, we’re out of the woods news that we’re waiting for. However, this fits right along with the housing starts story from a couple of weeks ago. Both are small steps in the right direction.
Be patient people. There is hope and signs show that things are turning around, albeit slowly.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I just finished watching President Obama’s press conference. He was great, as always. I was watching NBC’s coverage and Brian Williams went to David Gregory for his thoughts. The first thing out of D. Greg’s mouth was something to the effect of, “he opened this conference with a prepared statement, which he used a teleprompter.”
I just watched the President answer questions for 50 minutes with piercing eye contact and this man, this man who has turned Meet the Press into the Softball Show, has the nerve to propel this absurd, Fox News fueled, line of attack, like Obama is the only President who’s ever used one, like it’s some sort of crime.
To hell with David Gregory. We need to organize and boycott NBC.* I'm sick of their shit. From the Today Show to the Nightly News, their professionalism is sorely lacking. There's no objectivity or quality reporting, just schilling for whatever is best for GE/Universal. I want to hear any and all ideas. Who’s with me?
*That said, I am going to continue to watch Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.
It appears your boy Andrew T. has done it again! A good friend who’s living in China has reported that this site has been blocked and he can no longer see it.
Pushing buttons around the world so you don’t have to! That’s the Andrew T. way!
The condensed to avoid thinking, Newspeak (USA) Today ran a poll with their partners at Gallup asking people who they thought was to blame for the AIG bonus mess. The choices were, Obama, Geitner, AIG Executives, and Congress.
The call probably went something like this…
Pollster: “Which of the following is most to blame for the fact that AIG bonuses were paid? President Barack Obama. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Congress. AIG Management.”
Respondent: “Ok, well, gee. There’s a lot of bad guys on that list.
Pollster: “(laughs) Yes there are.”
Respondent: “Let’s think about this for a second…there’s Obama. Ok, well it could be him, I mean, I know what he looks like and I know I don’t like him and he’s totally to blame seeing as how the Dow has tanked since the inauguration. Who was the second choice? Geitner?
Pollster: “Yes, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner.”
Respondent: “I don’t know who that is. I do know that the Treasury Department hasn’t done anything positive since this whole collapse, right?
Respondent: “Who was next? Congress? Was Congress the third choice?”
Pollster: “Yes, Congress.”
Respondent: “Oh, I hate Congress. All they do is spend our money, and a poor job they do at that, let me tell you! And AIG was last?”
Pollster: “Yes, AIG Management.”
Respondent: “Oh, I don’t like them at all. Gosh, this is really hard.”
Mind numbing, no? What is most troubling is the fact that they left out one key player, GEORGE W. BUSH. I could actually add the Bush Administration, seeing as how they failed to administer any oversight and didn’t push for the removal of bonuses when doling out the first half of the TARP funds. Just one more example of the media leaving out key details to shape public opinion. Seriously, if Bush isn’t a choice then it can’t be his fault. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
This is completely asinine. Read the report from Media Matters here.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I would like to take a second to thank Nicole Belle over at Crooks and Liars. Yesterday, she was kind enough to mention and link the “Man on Inside" post from last Friday. I was truly flattered and it resulted in the second highest number of page views in the history of ATiotC.com. If you are not familiar with Crooks and Liars, go check it out as it’s a great site and is the kind of site that I aspire this site to be.
Thanks again, Nicole!
Since I took yesterday off, I had plans to hit the ground running with some really great posts. Unfortunately for me, today has to be one of the worst days I’ve had in quite some time. Friends, today was liberal hell, meaning, as a liberal democrat, I was in hell. You don’t know how bad I want to share it with you but my station in life will not allow me to share.
See, I work for an incredible, compassionate, generous organization. It is a pleasure to come to work, every single day. That said, it is a prominent organization and I work in a high profile department of this prominent organization. I have to keep some level of anonymity as well as anonymity for my employer, otherwise, it could come back to bite me and as I said, I like my job.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to formulate my thoughts enough to where I can tell the story without identifying any key players or write an essay about key themes of my day, but until then, I need to decompress. What’s killing me is the fact that I’m leaving so much great material on the table. Alas, I must.
Tomorrow may be more of the same, so hang tight.
Thanks for checking in.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
There’s a scene late in the movie that really struck a chord. Dubs is getting ready for bed after a terrible day of meetings. He has been told that they have not found WMDs in Iraq and he’s extremely upset about it. Laura is in bed, trying to console him, she lets him know that his favorite play, Cats, is in town and that they should get tickets.
Now, I’ve seen Cats, and let me tell you, it’s one of the most god awful pieces of shit I have ever seen. It doesn’t make any sense and the songs are terrible. Sitting through Cats was identical to the eight year ass reaming this country received at the hands of George W. Bush.
W. (2008) – three stars out of four.
Via Huffington Post, the first package tour has arrived in Iraq since 2003. And look at all the available packages! If Iraq isn’t your cup of tea, you know, maybe it’s not dangerous enough for you, Hinterland Travel has tours going to Afghanistan and all points in between.
I always told my friends, you know the war was a success when Iraq became the next French Riviera. It appears that we’re on the way!
For today's weekly address, the President made his argument for the budget. He acknowledged that it would more than likely not return from congress as proposed but that it must adhere to four principles. The President said, "[t]hese investments are not a wish list of priorities that I picked out of thin air – they're a central part of a comprehensive strategy to grow this economy by attacking the very problems that have dragged it down for too long…."
- must reduce our dependence on dangerous foreign oil and finally put this nation on a path to a clean, renewable energy future.
- renew our nation's commitment to a complete and competitive education for every American child.
- makes a serious investment in health care reform – reform that will bring down costs, ensure quality, and guarantee people their choice of doctors and hospitals.
- must reduce the deficit.
I believe in this plan. As I said yesterday, this is responsible spending. Watch the address and leave me your thoughts.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Here’s an interesting article from truthout.org. Dr. Ravi Batra, a professor of economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas argues that while Obama wants even the playing field for the poor and middle classes, Regan tilted the field in favor of the rich.
A quick fascinating read.
First, let me just say that the bonuses at AIG were despicable, and for that matter any bonuses at the top 5 investment banks. Anybody labeled too big to fail probably should have had some restrictions, because they might be bankrupt in the absence of the bailout. I have a couple of general thoughts, so it may seem a bit disjointed...
#1 One of the most important things about our system of democracy is contract law. Our ownerships rights, land, property, intellectual, music, are protected so that we can benefit. This brings stability, willingness to lend, and investment from abroad (would you lend any money to a Chinese business?) Without that, we generally fall back to unwillingness to enter into any agreement of any kind...mortgage, car loan, open a business. It's too risky, like Russia. Congress and the government effectively propped up these institutions, BUT THEY DID NOT NATIONALIZE THEM, SO THE GOVT CANNOT RUN THEM...you can't have it both ways, that's why the executive compensation limits were stripped from TARP 1, TARP2, and Obama's stimulus package. Because legally it was tough to enforce without outright nationalization, and that is something we wanted to avoid (not too pleasant to add this stuff to the US Treasury balance sheet). Congress had their chance to 1) nationalize, or 2) toughen restrictions...and they didn't (campaign season). This is political theater at its worst. This is also very distracting from the real problem. The public can bitch and moan all they want, but Barney Frank has no say so in how AIG is run.
#2 A lot of TARP recipients didn't need the money. Banks were asked to participate because if everyone was in it would reduce the perception that any one bank was worse off than the other. If we were to have split good/bad banks last October, there would have been a mad rush and the outcome would have been insane. That is not an exaggeration as there would have been a run on deposits and the stock; assets would have been sold at fire sale prices because nobody big enough would have been around to buy them. Good banks will report good earnings in time (and some have) and will return the money. The taxes (future taxes, as nobody has paid a dime yet) will not be as high when TARP is paid back by those that can. We should want this and encourage it. It means things are getting better. But Congress has to stop playing off of public anger and this mischaracterization of what has occurred. Not everyone who has TARP is bad. Our taxes have not gone up, and we are trying to fix it so that they don't. Growth and stability would do that. This wholem we gave you money so here are the rules does not work. Either take them over, or don't give any money. Can't have it both ways.
#3 It's easy to say these Wall Street guys are idiots, and they just make millions in sales and pillage the village. Well, yes there are some dumb asses. Yes these "toxic" investments went bad....yes there is plenty of blame to go around. But the problem started with the bad assets (bad mortgages and loans), but if that was all it was, we could have stomached it. Those in charge of those assets, and the investors would have been hurt, but McDonalds wouldn't have been. The fall in stocks/houses and everything else was primarily due to fear and counterparty risk at large international banks. Once it appeared that ANY loan made to ANYBODY, may not be paid back, nobody would lend. No lending to comoanies that needed it, to rollover overnight loans, meant a collateral call. This meant fire sale on any asset to raise cash. This became a spiral, and wallah! Down went Frazier. There was a lot of idiocy going around, but that is not what caused this problem. These assets would have been good cash paying investments, but an asset is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, regardless of cash flows generated by it. No Trust, No pay.
So in general, yes it stinks. But Congress #1, never should have repealed Glass-Steagall in 1999 that was erected in the Great Depression to separate investment banks from banks. #2 Congress never should have permitted FNMA and Freddie Mac to be privately run companies with a public quasi-guarantee. #3 large insurance companies that became hedge funds should have been regulated. #4 Congress should have just nationalized them or declined the money. Plenty of blame indeed. A 90% tax on bonuses is a scary thing, and I worry about what this does to anyone who can value these assets and properly unwind them. I also worry about what this does to the public and the willingness to bail out anybody any more. And that won't be pretty. What are we willing to spend to limit the damage? We are $20 trillion poorer in 14 months already as a country; the next 20 trillion will not feel pleasant. AIG should have known better, but I have to side with the law on this one. They had their chance.
You know it’s a good day when the newspaper equivalent of Fox News defends the President.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Alan S. Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, pushes back on Obama socialist claims.
And Hades has returned Persephone to Demeter. The ice has thawed opening up a beautiful spring day.
Of course there will be a sizeable backlash because of this figure. “Runaway government spending,” will be the mantra. “He’s spending us into oblivion,” they’ll say. They’ll point to the budget and say, “we can’t possibly do that! We’re too far in debt!” Yes, this does make things difficult, especially when the right has so entrenched their ideology into the American mindset.
Two things we need to keep in mind. First, between the nearly $800 billion recovery package and the $410 billion omnibus spending bill, we can account for $1.2 trillion. I can’t honestly say that both are figured into the $2 trillion figure, but I don’t think that’s going to stop opponents from bringing up both as an example of out of control spending. Here’s what needs to be understood, both bills could not be avoided and were extremely important. Believe me when I tell you, the opposition understands this, but they would rather be in power than see the country prosper, and will fight any plan coming from the White House, regardless of its merit. But I digress.
Remember, the recovery was needed to inject large amounts of capital into the system and the government is the only entity in this country to throw that kind of money around. And for those of you who argue that private enterprise is the only way to grow the economy, look no further than the good folks at either AIG or GM for an example of how private enterprise has handled their end of the economic bargain. As for the omnibus spending bill, first, the majority of that bill was to keep all things government running. You wouldn’t want our soldiers to stop protecting us? If you receive Social Security, you’d still want to get your check? As for the earmarks, I’ve weighed in on the topic and I’m not so sure that they’re always a bad thing. Yes, they’ve been abused in the past, but from what I saw of the earmarks in this bill, they were for good local projects. Good local projects require jobs, which in turn, helps the economy. In this case, earmarks were little stimulus packages and, in my estimation, were a good thing.
That brings us to the budget that is on the table. According to NPR, House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says, "We have to recognize that education, a change in energy policy and health care reform are what will turn the economy around, bring money to the Treasury, make us competitive internationally and put the economy on a much more stable footing as we go into the future." That means that we need to spend money on these projects now if we want strength and prosperity in the future. There is so much good in this budget. Things that should have been addressed years ago, new energy policy and health care, for example, have been budgeted and accounted for. I don’t understand how being transparent and accounting for everything the government intends to spend could possibly be a bad thing. For years, the books have been cooked to show far less money than the government actually spent. Now, we have an Administration that identifies every dime and their opponents want to fault him for that? It make no sense to me. Has anybody considered the possibility of coming under budget? I say get the money now, do the most good and do it responsibly.
The next few weeks are going to be ugly and the rhetoric will be intense. To be clear, I’m am not in favor of running up huge debts and believe in responsible spending. However, our country has been left in pretty bad shape and the costs to fix it are going to be huge. The priorities represented in the budget are exactly the priorities we need to focus on if we want to be strong and prosper. I would argue that this kind of spending is responsible spending.
In his Inaugural Address, President Obama said:
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.
If you agree with me, then we need to put the word on the street and get the public behind this. It’s time to put an end to the false arguments of the past and start investing in tomorrow’s future. Let’s go to work.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I’ve been really going after the media the last few days. It’s good to know that there’s still some reporting going on. Mad props to MSNBC.
Read the article for the details. It’s not a long article and it’s so true.
Maybe they’re avoiding it because they feel enormous guilt, having been used as pawns in the Bush White House’s game of deception. Or maybe, and I tend to believe this one, they’re just lazy bums reporting whatever they’re fed instead of going out and actually checking facts.
I propose a toast, to our brave men and women serving our country overseas. Thank you for your service! We pray for the day when this will all be over and you can come home and enjoy the country you so courageously defended!
I just found this anniversary story on Huffington Post.
Bob Cesca is too damn funny, and this kid or chick or whatever that is up there is too proud of that sign! His latest column is really funny, but not as funny as that sign. That said, he makes a serious point explaining that the current batch of Boston Tea Party enthusiasts have it backwards.
Read. Learn. Enjoy.
It’s good to know that Democrats are no longer rolling over and taking it like they used to. Here’s Rep. Barney Frank addressing Republican revisionist history and their claim that this situation is mostly his fault.
In recent weeks, my friends across the aisle have expended a lot of breath proclaiming that the Democrats caused the present financial crisis by failing to pass legislation to regulate financial services companies in the years 1995 through 2006.
There is only small one problem with this story -- throughout this entire period the Republicans were in complete charge of the House and for the most critical years they controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.
The Republicans can claim some supposed successes despite my awesome power. In 1999 they passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which overturned a Depression-era law preventing commercial banks from acting like investment banks. In 2000, they passed another bill which loosened regulation of derivative markets. I voted against these bills -- but to no avail.
Under Republican President George W. Bush, many federal agencies turned a blind eye to activities which would later precipitate the global financial meltdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission decided to allow the nation's largest financial institutions to "self-regulate;" the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan declined to use its power to regulate subprime mortgages; the Comptroller of the Currency decided to preempt state consumer laws on subprime mortgages.
Meanwhile, President Bush himself demanded that Fannie and Freddie increase the percentage of subprime loans they purchased, supposedly because of his belief in an "ownership society." Incidentally, increased lending to subprime borrowers would also fuel astronomical profits by the financial services industry. I publicly opposed giving mortgages to unqualified borrowers because I believed that some families are better off renting.
Yet somehow none of this was recorded in the Republican collective memory.
Read the whole thing and feel the burn! As we used to say in seventh grade…FAAAACCCCEEEE! FACIAL! IN YOUR FACE!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
An army of Republican Staffers have been armed with video cameras and given marching orders to follow Democratic legislators with the intent to catch them in a “gotcha” moment. That way, they can use the footage to unseat the poor unsuspecting Democrat. It’s like former Senator George Allen (R-VA), except his dumb ass was on stage and nobody ran up to him looking like the paparazzi. Nope, he talked right to the camera.
Nobody caught him off guard! Oh, and he got his ass handed to him by Jim Webb (D-VA).
Read this story and feel sorry for the lost, sad Republicans (but not too sorry).
At what point in time did this country start rewarding bad behavior? When did we decide that failure was an option?
I came across this article from The Hill in which they describe AIG executives approaching some 370 employees to either give up or reduce their bonuses, to which, the employees responded with a resounding no.
Through empathy, I can understand the employee point. You have been given something in the past without condition and you begin to expect that same something, regardless of present conditions. And, if there’s a contract, well then, pay up sucker!
Rats that navigate mazes get a reward at the end of the experiment and get irritable when they don’t get what they expect. Just as in the lab, these rats at AIG had been given the same thing year in and year out and weren’t going to give that up without a fight. Therefore, it should have been crystal clear that, based on their performance, they weren’t getting a dime. Instead, management, and the government, pussy footed around the issue. There were no conditions placed, no understandings, no “this is how it is and you will like it or leave.” Instead, they fixed their contracts to insure that they received the same bonuses as 2007 regardless of the companies condition. They didn’t care about their employer, or their country, or the world. Nope, they were looking out for #1. Remember, if AIG had gone under, these rats wouldn’t have gotten a dime. As far as I’m concerned, the government owns 80% of the company, they’re government employees. If giving them a bonus is so important, then give them whatever a government employee would get at year end. Even then, they don’t deserve it. On top of that (spontaneous combustion alert), most of them don’t even need it!
I personally have worked for companies who have given me a year end bonus. I promise you, I never received a multi-million dollar bonus. It was more like a multi-ten dollar bonus. Maybe a multi-hundred if I was lucky, and even then, it was in the low multi-hundreds. My point is, I understood that my bonus was predicated on the condition that the company could afford it and that I did a good job that year. AIG can’t afford it and these “professionals” brought the world economy to its knees. Therefore, I can safely say that they did a bad job! Quite simply, they should never have created a situation where these people became entitled to something they did not earn.
They failed and that should never be rewarded.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
There was always a reason Keith Olbermann called Fox News Fix News. In case you don’t know, he called them Fix News because of their conservative bias. Now, it’s not just bias they’re fixing. No, the number one cable news network is now fixing content, manipulating it to serve their purposes.
Did you catch the clip of Biden? What these crooked bastards didn’t tell you is that clip is from September 15, 2008!
Fox is nothing more than a propaganda machine reminiscent of Nazi Germany. You have been warned!***UPDATE***
Fox admits mistake, saying they inadvertently added the clip. Inadvertently. Right.
Please have a bucket of water, or a full sink, or a swimming pool nearby as you will need said vessel of water to put out the flames that are about to spontaneously combust off the top of your head.
They told us they were contractually obligated to make these payments. They told us that they needed to retain their top talent to unwind the mess, for the taxpayer.
Sounds like they’re shitting in my mouth and calling it a sundae.
The Huffington Post has the details of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s findings, as well as a copy of his letter to Rep. Barney Frank here.
Lowlights include 73 assholes who received $1 million or more, eleven of which are no longer with the company. Most offensive is the contract clauses locking in 2007 bonuses for 2008. In other words, it didn’t matter what the market did, they were going to get their money regardless.
Personal note, I try to keep this site clean for the kids. That said…
Fuck this shit stain of a company. Fuck these greedy assholes who fucked the whole lot of us. I’d like to see them get Oz style time, if you know what I mean!
Ok, extinguish your head now please. I wouldn’t want you walking around looking like Michael Jackson.
This is hardcore.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) must have been watching Shogun, drinking Saki, and eating sushi when he heard the AIG bonus news because he recommended AIG executives either spill their guts honorably, hara-kiri style, or resign.
“The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them (is) if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide," Grassley said.
"And in the case of the Japanese," he added, "they usually commit suicide before they make any apology."
I won’t get too excited as we have a long way to go. That said, these are the small signs of life we’ve been waiting for! They’re building again! Good news indeed!
Monday, March 16, 2009
I will beat this into the ground until people wake up to the truth about Obama’s tax plan.
If you make $200,000 or more, which accounts for approximately 2% of the country, then your taxes will roll back from the present 35% to Clinton era rates of 39%. To put this in perspective, Under Regan, taxes for this bracket were at 50%. Nixon, 70%. Eisenhower, 91%. Here’s a handy chart from moveon.org: