September 30, 2008
Helping ourselves. Helping our neighbors. Helping our heroes.
I gotta tell you, I LOVE the fact that we have some amazing people who are running against demons.
300 Pennsylvania Avenue
Webster, TX 77598
new or gently used clothing and shoes
standardized dress attire
Open: M-F 8 to 4
They are also enrolling students displaced by Hurricane Ike there.
Clear Creek Independent School District is overseeing this kids initiative, so I can assure you it is a quality operation.
Also my town is accepting donations:
City of Seabrook Distribution and Donation Center
Hampton Inn on NASA parkway
running from 9/27 through 10/11
small household items (pots, pans, dishes, small appliances)
food (if you send cans, please send pop top or a can opener too)
personal hygiene items
Volunteers are needed!
Karen Campise 713-594-9422
Lori Wauls 281-635-6363
Y'all have a goodun and seriously, help these people out. They are putting their lives in hold to try to represent you.
Ride a painted pony
Well, it didn’t take long for my company to adjust to the fallout. People were told to go home early in the morning, and everyone was told that we go to a 32 hour schedule for the next two weeks. After that time, there will be a reevaluation. Oh, oh, I know what that means.
Maybe Lloyd Doggett can find me a job.
SEND DIANE KEATON FIVE DOLLARS RIGHT NOW!
I've always been a big fan of Diane Keaton. You know, the Diane Keaton of 'Annie Hall, 'Baby Boom' and 'Something's Gotta Give'. In fact, McBlogger and I consider 'Baby Boom' a family classic! However recent events have demonstratively changed my viewpoint.
First, she utterly disgusted me in 'Because I Said So', and I don't think I am alone here. Then she was partly responsible for the painful 'Mad Money'. Now she strikes with the sure to be an incredibly cretinous shitbomb entitled 'Smother'.
Yes, please, with a pillow! I am sorry, but if you do not cringe at least once during that trailer, you are a cinematic idiot. Do I REALLY need to mention Dax Shepard is in it? Do I? Anyone? He's even worse than Dane Cook and that's saying something! I mean what is she thinking? How much good will does she think remains in the credibility piggy bank? Being an Academy Award winner only goes so far. Just look at Cuba Gooding Jr.
It leads me to the conclusion that dear Diane must be in desperate need of some coin. There is no other explanation for accepting every crappy vehicle that comes her way. So, I was thinking, if every exasperated movie goer were to send her five dollars, perhaps she would stop making these inexplicably bad film choices. Perhaps she could salvage the last dwindling shred of dignity that remains. It's a thought.
BREAKING : Dodd says "We're looking at expanding FDIC"
As part of a stop gap measure after yesterday's failure of the recapitalization package (which the media is STILL calling a bailout though they never quite explain exactly who will be 'bailed out'. I'm certain it's not shareholders. It never is), Chris Dodd is looking at expanding FDIC's role and allowing them to take a more active role in all this, including taking over whole banks. Which is what they did during the S&L crisis.
This solution will cost us a cool $1 TRILLION vs. making money off the recapitalization plan that you guys hated.
WAY 2 GO, ASSHOLES!
I'm excited, y'all! You thought you knew everything and fought this tooth and nail. You won. Now, it's time for me to vulture your ass because you're obviously too stupid to help.
I missed out on the first S&L party so I'll be happy to join in on this one at taxpayer expense. I know a lot of people who got hella rich buying RTC's underpriced assets. I personally can't wait! And it was handed to us by the braindead masses.
Morons. But even you guys pale in comparison to some of the Republicans...
Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, said most Republican conservatives oppose the idea of Treasury purchasing troubled assets, because it puts too much of the expense on taxpayers.
``That is a model that House conservatives feel is fundamentally flawed,'' said Hensarling, the chairman of a group of more than 100 House Republican conservatives called the Republican Study Committee.
Oh, Jeb. You and the House conservatives are stupid and completely out of your depth when it comes to modern finance. Let's see here, Jeb. You and the connie's think that the government backstopping losses, without having a pre-existing premium cushion, is cheaper than actually buying the hard assets and recasting them?
Really? Jeb, seriously, there's politics and then there's just plain stupid. You and your fellow conservatives know less about finance than a box of hair and you certainly wouldn't know the first thing about fixing this problem.
Some of you think these assets are like a disease and they have to be purged (shades of Andrew Mellon, one of the architects of the Great Depression). Can't even begin to work through that one.
Seriously, you are all so far out of your league it's truly scary. Frank and Dodd are the only two who REALLY seem to get it and they are doing yeoman's work to keep this all from really going off the rails.
My grain of sand
Awhile back, I was having a discussion with a friend about some issue of the week that had been blogged ad nauseam, and told him I was going to post my opinion.
I don’t think his response was meant to be mean, even though he is sarcastic sort, when he said, “another grain of sand on the beach.”
Sometimes I keep that in mind, sometimes I don’t. This is one of those times I don’t.
Let me preface my following rant by saying that I understand you don’t want abortion allowed for any reason, creationism should be taught in school, gays shouldn’t marry, and only abstinence should be taught in sex education. I understand. I don’t agree with you and I think you’re a little stupid, but I get it. It certainly does not take a therapist to recognize you have unresolved issues about your self-worth, but I understand. I really do.
For those women who are voting FOR Palin (to them McCain is more of an afterthought, and instead represents a surrogate to these women of the men who tell them how to vote and what to believe), congratulations, you have just slapped in the face the vast majority of your “sisterhood” who have maintained their dignity, morals, and values at home and work, while that cute, shapely, lying, ass-kissing bitch with less merit, experience, and intelligence has become your boss or just stole your man. Hey, it’s your world, I just live in it.
September 29, 2008
How To Lose Friends And Destroy Economies
What awful things could Nancy Pelosi have possibly said to make the Congressional repubs get all pouty and sink the bill today? Click the Supersize, and read the Speaker's remarks courtesy of The Page. Sounds like the GOP "leadership" is pissing up a tree when they claim their feelings were hurt.
“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?
It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.
Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos.
That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol.
As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.
It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome.
Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.
It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs.
It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every Member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.
Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration.
I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by Chairman Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.
I also want to recognize Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience, to resolve key disagreements.
Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.
Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.
The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardize the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilization bill.
So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions:
This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery program is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.
The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.
The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.
Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bailout the recklessness of Wall Street.
The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.
And should this program not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.
These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.
This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.
With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.
Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.
This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation’s economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package—a robust, job creating bill—that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track, and renew the American Dream.
Today, we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership that has left us left capable of meeting the challenges of the future.
We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future.”
If this doesn't get fixed you're going to experience some real pain. Check your 401(k) tonight when you get home and REALLY let it sink in that YES, THIS DOES EFFECT YOU.
The next place the banks are going to go for liquidity is credit cards. Specifically, yours. They're going to start cutting your lines. And most of you can't live without them. Oh, and that car you wanted to buy? Better bring cash for that.
See, it doesn't take long for the effects of this to start to hit EVERYONE. And yes, I will be saying
I TOLD YOU SO
over and over again.
Just today, the Dow is down 777 points. The NASDAQ is down almost 200. Congratulations, those of you that called your Congressman to say NO! to the 'bailout'.
Recap vote is failing and the Dow is falling UPDATED
The US House of Representatives is holding the vote on the financial services recapitalization plan and it's currently failing. The Dow had fallen more than 600 points but has paired losses to just shy of 500.
Thinks this stuff doesn't matter? If this doesn't go through, take a look at your retirement account in a few days.
I'd like to take a personal moment to thank all the idiots, within the Democratic and Republican parties, who are voting against this (not to mention all the pressure from outside groups put on them). When the books are closed on this era of American history, you'll all be remembered as the people who collapsed our economy.
UPDATE - Boehner is on TV whining that the R's voted against the bill because of what Nancy Pelosi said. Blunt is saying the same thing. The reality is that 75% of his folks voted against this bill. Of course, as Rep. Cantor (who flipped on his support for the bill from against to for) pointed out, NINETY FOUR DEMOCRATS voted against this.
I can't wait to hear their individual reasons, other than being gutless trash (and basically Republicans).
UPDATE 2 - Pelosi is saying that D's were to bring half and the R's were to bring half. It appears that the D's followed through and it was the R leadership that failed. Apparently there were 94 Dem's who just didn't like the fact that it was an improved Administration bill. So, the deal was made... the D's bring more than half and the R's just need to balance it out. Apparently, the R's were 12 short.
UPDATE 3 - I love me some Barney Frank. He just said when asked about Boehner's comment that he simply could not believe that 12 Republicans would disregard the imminent peril to our country, to ordinary Americans, because they got their feelings hurt. He then offered, if the R leadership would give him the names of the people, to go to talk to them 'uncharacteristically nicely' if it would help. The press corps died laughing.
Now it's Rahm Emmanuel. And he SUCKS BALLS as a speaker at a press conference. He looks and sounds twerpy.
As of right now, the US Equity Markets alone have lost more than ONE TRILLION DOLLARS since this failed. Thanks a bunch, R's.
Ben Wear and his Stupid Sunshine Sh*t
I've actually noticed recently that the Statesman has improved a bit now that it's clear it can't depend on the Cox money teat for sustenance anymore. However, that improvement hasn't included Ben Wear who has to be one of the least curious people in Central Texas if his writing is any measure of the man.
Today, Wear presents a nice little article about TXDOT selling debt. To build toll roads (
which we'll pay for with our gas taxes AND tolls! The most expensive solution of all!). That we authorized almost five and two years ago. That they've sat on until THE WORST CREDIT CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION.
Which is totally an ideal time to sell debt into the market. It's the time when you are SURE to get the more advantageous rates. But Wear doesn't mention that (other than some not-at-all witty suicide quip). He doesn't ask anyone about it.
Good to see everyone from the executive to the legislative to the media taking our need for infrastructure so seriously. It's a damn good thing you all have jobs either working for a failing enterprise (the Statesman) or one you are trying to drive into failure through your massive incompetence (State Government).
You may have missed this...
With the passage of FISA, we were expecting the Government to file to dismiss the many lawsuits floating out there against the companies that aided and abetted the Government's illegal wiretapping program. And now, it's happened.
Eventually it'll hit the Supreme Court where I'm SURE CJ Roberts will make sure and uphold the constitutionality of an unconstitutional law.
September 28, 2008
Sometimes Democrats do bad things
With all the dumb effluent filling our ears and heads this past week, we missed that Congress had passed a bill strengthening copyright laws in the US. The first version was interesting because it actually allowed the Justice Dept. to go after infringement ON BEHALF OF private interests, basically turning the DoJ into the MPAA's rottweiler (because pittbull's are shit).
The DEMOCRATIC Congress wanted this provision. It was the Bush DoJ that demanded it be stripped out. How's that for a little irony? And while we're on the subject of copyright and patent enforcement, these laws were meant to protect the creators and inventors from abuse and allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They were not meant for a corporation (I'm looking at you, Disney) to enjoy in perpetuity.
September 27, 2008
Just a little something to make you laugh...
I love jerky nature of animated GIF's.
September 26, 2008
All I'll Say About This Debate
McCain's tie is more animated than he is.
As part of the 'Ike Tours Texas' fallout, refiners on the Gulf are still shut down which is causing spot shortages in Atlanta (which sucks anyway) and in Tennessee. And, apparently, Dallas. Here's what caught my eye (and keep in mind the effected refiners account for 20% of US capacity)
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 11.5 million barrels per day during the week ending September 19, down more than 1.7 million barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 66.7 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging about 8.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging nearly 3.3 million barrels per day. (EIA)
So, refineries effected by Ike account for 20% of US refining capacity and we're down to 66%??!?! That seems strange at a time where wholesale gasoline recently spiked to $5/gal.
Then I saw this and start to think maybe there is something going on.
SO, we have a massive crude and gasoline supply disruption as a result of a hurricane. Combine that with newfound regulatory zeal from governments around the world, all of whom are looking to strangle speculation and suddenly refiners have decided to artificially (for 'repairs') reduce the gasoline available in the market?
Methinks this is a pretty clear cut case of supply manipulation. They can't play with the price since the speculators (those still left in the business now that LEH is gone and MS and GS are under scrutiny) have had to cut back. So they energy companies themselves have decided to create an artificial supply constraint by shutting in capacity unaffected by Ike.
Ain't it nice that the oil companies care so much about their customers?
McCain hearts the House Republicans
I'm not going to even bother attacking Roy Blunt. The man is so far beneath me when I shit he thinks it's raining mud.
C'mon Democrats... let the whole thing fall apart.
A quick glance over at The Crypt reveals a couple of things:
1) EVERYONE thinks McCain is playing politics.
2) Blunt and Boehner are too stupid to know what they're doing. They're children playing with nukes and we'll be lucky to survive their stupidity.
3) The Democrats have the power to pass this package. The Republicans in the House will of course use it as an election issue and some voters are just dumb enough to believe them.
The reality is that the House Republicans are simply too stupid to know what they they are proposing and the effect it will have. This will open up the US taxpayer to literally TRILLIONS in exposure. Paulson's plan, just the mechanics of a recap program, will likely cost nothing (remember, I do this for a living. I'M still in business and doing well. You could say I'm somebody worth listening to). The Republican's plan will cost us $1 TRILLION. At a minimum.
The stakes are so unbelievably high and the sad thing is that the people who get it best aren't even in the US.
The US will lose its role as a global financial “superpower” in the wake of the financial crisis, Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, said on Thursday, blaming Washington for failing to take the regulatory steps that might have averted the crisis.
“The US will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system.
More than a year ago, I wrote that if the commercial paper market collapses, we would be staring into the abyss. WE'RE THERE. All that being said, the only way people are going to get just how bad things are is to let them get a bit worse.
I hate the idea of letting a problem get worse than I know it has to. But I'm so goddamn sick of these stupid people and their stupid ideas that I'm ready to let them and their supporters find out exactly how wrong they are.
UPDATE 1 - Bloomberg just had on John Allison from Branch Banking and Trust. John's proposal is a tax credit to clear out the housing market. The success of such a proposal is predicated on people being able to obtain financing. WHICH IS THE PROBLEM WE'RE TRYING TO FIX.
I see that the stupid people aren't limited to House Republicans.
The House Republicans and their STUPID plan
You know, House Republicans are half-wits at the best of times. These AREN'T the best of times. Below is a summary of their principles and my comments. I can't tell you how mindnumbingly stupid this little plan is. This is so poorly thought out and it's so obvious that the players involved are completely out of their depth that here's no way to sufficiently ridicule this.
HR : Rather than providing taxpayer funded purchases of frozen mortgage assets, we should adopt a mortgage insurance approach to solve the problem.
McB : Well, that's a bit like fixing the barn door after the horses are already out. Further, all the private insurance has failed and now you want to activate a government insurance plan that doesn't give taxpayers an asset but instead an open ended liability? At least with Paulson's plan, we weren't on the hook for anything more than what we paid for the asset. And those assets are, at their base, mortgages and behind them is real property.
HR : Currently the federal government insures approximately half of all mortgage backed securities. (MBS) We can insure the rest of current outstanding MBS; however, rather than taxpayers funding insurance, the holders of these assets should pay for it. Treasury Department can design a system to charge premiums to the holders of MBS to fully finance this insurance.
McB : Only Freddie and Fannie insure MBS. So you want to now EXPAND the Agencies? As for the people in financial services paying for this, there isn't any equity left, you idiots. DO YOU GET THAT?! THIS IS A BREAK DOWN IN THE MARKET.
All this does is put us on the hook for another $5 TRILLION. As we step in to 'insure' loans that weren't written to the Agencies tough guidelines. It's a bit like insuring someone who drives a car. Without looking at their driving record or claim history. Which is a prescription for open ended risk.
HR : Have Private Capital Injection to the Financial Markets, Not Tax Dollars. Instead of injecting taxpayer capital into the market to produce liquidity, private capital can be drawn into the market by removing regulatory and tax barriers that are currently blocking private capital formation. Too much private capital is sitting on the sidelines during this crisis.
McB : Well, first off you have $2.5-3 trillion in private capital that has simply ceased to exist. There isn't enough out there. The market is functionally UNREGULATED as is and the tax barriers are, for the most part, non-existent. You guys took care of that in 2001 and 2003. There's nothing more you can do to juice and cutting the tax rates that remain won't do anything to achieve your goals in even a marginal way (the taxes are minimal now as is). Just look at a goddamn Laffer Curve, you morons, and plot it out. You're on the left hand side. You can't achieve marginal gains from here by cutting taxes. They're so low that it doesn't change the risk/reward ratio substantively.
HR : Temporary tax relief provisions can help companies free up capital to maintain operations, create jobs, and lend to one another. In addition, we should allow for a temporary suspension of dividend payments by financial institutions and other regulatory measures to address the problems surrounding private capital liquidity.
McB : Uhm. Most companies are running at a loss. We discussed this. As for the dividends, keep in mind that those dividends go mostly to people who are retired. Are you really so nasty, House Republicans, that you'd force a little old lady to eat cat food just to make a goddamn point?
Quit with the taxes. You've already functionally bankrupted us and we can't handle more of your fiscal irresponsibility. Which is why Republicans are now the MINORITY.
HR : Immediate Transparency, Oversight, and Market Reform. Require participating firms to disclose to Treasury the value of their mortgage assets on their books, the value of any private bids within the last year for such assets, and their last audit report.
McB : Smells like the beginning of REGULATION. Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day so it's no surprise you'd stumble across something. HOWEVER, there's not enough here to make a decision on the cost of insuring. Even here you folks are miserable failures. I'd love it if one of you could be given the reins of a public insurance company. So I could short the hell out of the stock. I LOVE profiting from other's stupidity.
HR : Wall Street Executives should not benefit from taxpayer funding. Call on the SEC to review the performance of the Credit Rating Agencies and their ability to accurately reflect the risks of these failed investment securities.
McB : Sounds like you too have a problem with CEO pay but the meat's not there. So this really IS nothing more than a political ploy?
HR : Create a blue ribbon panel with representatives of Treasury, SEC, and the Fed to make recommendations to Congress for reforms of the financial sector by January 1, 2009.
McB : Really? Hey, morons. The panel already exists. It's been meeting with Congress all week. And it thinks your plan sucks balls.
This 'PACKAGE' was put together by people who are intellectually inadequate. WOEFULLY inadequate.
(thanks to Politico)
Oh, Jeb. You moronic fool...
It'll come as little surprise to those of us in Texas that our own Rep. Jeb Hensarling is leading the little rebellion of House Republicans against what was, until they stepped into the fray and began playing politics, a bipartisan plan.
Hensarling has always been an advocate of ideology over reality. Now, he's taking that to it's ultimate extreme by supporting a market solution to the financial crisis we now face. What's terrifying is that even at this late date he has not realized that the crisis itself was brought on by a complete breakdown of the market. Which he now proposes to legislate back into operation. With loan guarantees and insurance.
Here's the problem... the market has consistently, by not working, activated every form of insurance placed on it to offset declines in value. That's what brought down AIG. Which means that should his plan go forward, it'll be taxpayers that take it on the chin because he proposes to have the government backstop LOSSES, not hold and service ASSETS for eventual sale.
The plan, which has not been transformed into legislation, seeks to insure mortgage-backed assets at prices and premiums set by the government, creating a virtual backstop for all the debt. This would not require an initial outlay of taxpayers’ funds in the neighborhood of Paulson's $700 billion.
But the Treasury Department has expressed concerns about whether an insurance model would provide the economy with the immediate stimulus it needs. And taxpayers would have to foot the cost for a major financial slide because the government would be required to make up those losses.
Jeb, just like Fannie and Freddie, how long do you think it will take the market to push through the stops and activate the insurance. What will you do then? Cry that you were wrong?
I don't know what more I should expect from someone who's business experience includes working for his Daddy's little company and some kind of insurance company that you can't find out anything about. Oh, and Green Mountain Energy which is anything but green.
Jeb, you're a tiny, underpowered mind operating among giants this week. Instead of trying to throw your stupid, irresponsible and irrational bull into the mix, why not let those smarter than you take the lead?
You know, Jeb, it's better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.
The government takes over WaMu and sells most of it to JPM Chase.
The real funny? McCain and the House Republicans decide to poop all over the recapitalization plan that they had, earlier TODAY, agreed to. Well, some of them. The ones who are not batshit crazy.
Things grew so heated within the caucus, the Politico reported, that "some House Republicans are saying privately that they'd rather 'let the markets crash' than sign on to a massive bailout."
One GOP lawmaker, referring to his defiant colleagues, asked rhetorically: "For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?"
Even Excreable Ed Rollins thinks the R's are putting themselves first...
"At the end of the day, there's a lot of people thinking about how to rebuild this party," said GOP strategist Ed Rollins on CNN, "and do we want to rebuild it with John McCain, who's always kind of questionable on the basic facts of fiscal control, all the rest of it, immigration. And I think to a certain extent this 110, 115 members of this study group are saying, here's the time to draw the line in the sand."
"That's pretty scary stuff that they're thinking about party right now and not country, is that what you're saying?" responded host Anderson Cooper.
"I think they're, yes, they're thinking about themselves," said Rollins.
I'd like to take a moment to thank Rep. Frank and Sen. Dodd, as well as all the congressional D's for their hard work. And thank you, Mr. Chairman for yet again giving us THE quote...
Following the meeting, Frank and Dodd implored President Bush to persuade House Republicans that the situation is urgent. “The president has got to go to work here,” said Frank. As for McCain’s offer of assistance, Frank said, “God save us from such help.”
As for Speaker Pelosi... shove. this. bill. down. their. throats.
BTW - Thanks, Campbell Brown.
September 25, 2008
First, a wee introduction. I'm Uncle O'Grimacy, an infrequent guest writer here at McBlogger. Like all good Irishmen, I love booze and a dram o'profanity every once in a while. And, chances are I'm a bloggin' drunk. For added affect, you can read this post in a voice that is a cross between Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers movies and Sean Connery. You'll be on the right track then, laddies. Now, on to business.
What the hell is wrong with John McCain? Is he stupid or just plain dumb? He wants to suspend his campaign so he can focus on the financial crisis on Wall Street. Bullshit. Like he's smart enough to solve it!
Everybody knows McCain is suspending so he can get out of Friday's debate with Barack Obama, right? If you don't, you're on fucking mushrooms. The corn in my shite figured that out, for god's sakes.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about just how stupid suspending a presidential campaign over this actually is.http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/07/foreclosure-phil.htmlhttp://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/07/foreclosure-phil.html
John McCain and Barack Obama briefly suspended their campaigns because a hurricane stuck the Gulf Coast. Fine and dandy. Granted, even someone as full of Everclear as me might think it might be tacky to campaign in the midst of a disaster that will destroy homes and cause massive loss of life.
Now, he wants to suspend his campaign because of the crisis on Wall Street. Is anybody fucking dying? Are the folks o'er at Goldman Sachs jumping out of windows and splattering down on the pavement? Is there any loss of life? Granted, there is a massive-ass loss of homes and jobs, but that's never stopped John McCain before. He campaigned throughout the whole damned foreclosure crisis, and has sat as idle as an ass wart on a pig while millions of American jobs were lost throughout this administration.
The other reason it is pretty stupid that McCain is suspending his campaign is because one of his own dumb-assed advisers helped cause the current crisis--that giant sack of shit-filled haggis called Phil Gramm who we in Texas had the unfortunate distinction of having as our Senator for longer than even God cares to remember.
Who in the Christ is advising John McCain to suspend his campaign? Did he get Bristol Palin to ask her Magic 8-Ball and make his decision based upon that?
If I were McCain, and thank Lord Jesus and Saint Patrick I am not although I'd like to have 13 cars and a wife who can get her hands on large stashes of Vicodin any time she wants, I'd be out on the damned campaign tail milking this shit for all it is worth.
Oh, wait. Damn it! McCain can't really milk it for all its worth, can he? Because he sat on his ass in the Senate for years sopping up the sweat off W's ballsack and voting for whatever the Republican Party wanted.
Now, for Barack Obama. If I were him, I'd tell John McCain and his suspension to go straight to Hell without the benefit of a Rosary or the Last Rites. I'd be on the campaign trail and blaming every economic problem our country has on Bush and John McCain.
Yes, go to the Senate, debate, cast your votes, attend your committee hearings, but keep your ass on the campaign trail, boyo. Shit, steal the spotlight from the bastard GOP administration and come up with your own economic plan to fix this hellish mess.
I know this isn't real, but it's...
... but it's hella funny.
Doubling down (craving crow with seconds)
So this morning I wake up to this story.
Really? Why, I never. How dare the Bush administration demand concessions it can probably get from this Congress...for reasons COMPLETELY INEXFUCKINGPLICABLE considering the mood of the electorate.
Go ahead, bitches. I dare you. Sack up and take on the 19% bogeyman or else go suck on Karl Rove's subpoena and stop sending me fundraising letters.
Crow is best served as a two-course meal. Damn I'm craving some.
September 24, 2008
Notes while drinking (or, In Which I'm Correct)
1) Everyone talks about the 'worthless' and 'toxic' securities being spun to the government. Once more, the overall picture is FAR from grim. Here's how this works...
2.75% of mortgages in the US are now in foreclosure. Even if that goes to 6%, it's still within past historical peaks and completely manageable. A good price for a CDO that represented this pool at face would be 94 cents on the dollar. Treasury should be able to pick up these assets for 30-60 cents on the dollar which will keep banks stable.
Merrill Lynch recently sold $30 bn in face value subprime CDO's to Lone Star Funds of Dallas. For around $6 bn. Even if 50% of the portfolio is not paying, they've just made an instant profit of 28 cents on the dollar.
And then there is loss mitigation. By the time they sell off the houses representing the other 50%, they will recoup half again. Bringing the final total to 75%. Why the hell shouldn't the government get a deal like that, especially when the free market is too stupid to get the value proposition. Of course, that's just recovery of principle. They'll still be earning interest on the 50% that pays. Now you know why debt collectors make so much money.
2) Even Barron's, not known as a bastion of intelligent thought, thinks this is a good idea. Stirling Newberry does not. That's because Stirling thinks this is all about the oil economy and oil for paper and it's all a house of cards and we should all start rationing now and wait patiently for the world to become like the nightmare depicted in Mad Max. Needless to say, I'm not going to worry about this.
4) McCain suspends his campaign in some kind of ridiculous publicity stunt. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd can't figure out why since over the last five days they have pretty much got the details ironed out and are ready to roll on a plan that will succeed. And they did it all without McCain. Meanwhile, now they have to put up with the stupid old man who doesn't get the economy and Bush. Tomorrow morning when they could be working.
5) Thankfully, Obama is pressing ahead. And this poll shows him way ahead of McCain.
Maybe the assholes deserve a Depression. This one certainly does. Don't get me wrong, I know you all want to lash out and just let the whole thing go down the drain. What you don't realize is that the third world AIN'T a real comfortable place to live.
Channeling My Inner Bolshevik
I am so freaking sick and tired of hearing this gift basket for the Wall Street plutocrats referred to as "socialism".
Get back to me when the plan includes Peoples Tribunals and firing squads.
May you live in interesting times...
This financial crisis is finally waning. They always end when buyers finally realize that the firesale won't last forever and they dip back into the market to buy deeply discounted assets. We got a big boost of this yesterday.
Until now, Mr. Buffett, who has navigated the stock market with legendary prowess, has largely refrained from investing in the stricken financial industry, saying repeatedly that things could get worse.
Thousands of people on and off Wall Street follow Mr. Buffett’s moves, so his decision to invest in Goldman immediately heartened investors. After falling nearly 1.5 percent during the day, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index erased half its loss in after-hours trading Tuesday evening on news of the investment.
“Buffett is saying he’s confident,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.
Mr. Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, unveiled the move only days after Goldman, long the premier investment house on Wall Street, embarked on a radical plan to transform itself into a traditional bank to ensure its survival. Goldman, which examined various options over the last week as its shares tumbled and some clients abandoned the firm, also said Tuesday it would sell at least $2.5 billion of common stock to the public.
The difference between Buffett and others is that HE can afford to hold something for decades until BRK makes a profit on it. Even if he dies, there is management at BRK that thinks exactly like him. And his success has not been the result of luck, it's research and thorough analysis. It's making the right decision.
Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.
Last night and this morning I posted a couple of emails to Carl Whitmarsh in Houston regarding something he'd sent out on his massive email list. The first article was this from George Will. Now, George has never been a big fan of McCain. However, that's not the meat of the article. It's the craptastic analysis of the US falling into socialism. Here's what I sent to Carl:
It's funny to me that McCain would attack Cox for not regulating the very securities that McCain voted to keep unregulated.
I LOVE the way conservatives have decided that this is socialism, as if the entire
capital market is now under the absolute control of the Treasury and Fed. Their
plan, buying assets that the free market has assigned zero value to, is absolutely
sound. Why? Because occasionally the market goes crazy and won't buy something
that's worth a dollar even if it's discounted to 10 cents. The market, in short, is
not always right.
The Fed was CREATED to avoid panic and provide liquidity in times of market
dislocations. Which is exactly what we have now.
That being said, Paulson's plan, as presented on Sunday, is a thoroughgoing mess.
There will have to be oversight. There will have to be caps on CEO compensation.
However, the basic idea to add liquidity to our deflated economy is a good one.
The second comment was related to a piece Harvey Kronberg ran from Royal Masset
I love Royal but he's wrong on what's happening in the financial industry. This is a panic, pure and simple, and it should wake people up to the reality that markets are far from perfect.
Markets are nothing more than buyers and sellers. Period. They are dependent on
humans and their imperfect decision making. The idea that markets self regulate with
minimal impacts is ALWAYS wrong. They do self regulate and in the process create
what can charitably be called distress.
Regulation and enforcement, while imperfect and sometimes overreaching, is a hell of
a lot better than mass unemployment and starvation.
That's the lesson most of the 'free market' Republican's have never learned.
Of course, there are number of others who have problems with buying assets. They see another solution, lend directly to the banks.
Here's why you can't just lend money to banks, allow them to take the losses in selling these assets, and then repay the debt over time. For one thing, these losses are going to (in many cases) wipe out all the equity in banks, rendering many insolvent. You can't replace that equity with debt owed to the government. Debt is Debt. For another, the market is so freaked out and dislocated (not to mention fearful) that no one wants these securities at any price. It's not that these securities aren't worth something. After all, the vast majority are A paper mortgage credits. It's that investors can't see the value and won't take ANY risk.
What is needed is a prime mover to get these assets moving, worked out and restore the market. That prime mover is the only entity capable of operating for the long haul, the Federal Government.
The issue is that these assets, when marked to market, have no value because the market is buying and selling NOTHING. However, the loans underneath are STILL performing. On a cashflow basis, many are performing exactly as predicted. We may now need to look at discounted cash flow as a value model to fall back on when MtoM fails. Which it is prone to do when the market seizes up. Which it, of course, does from time to time despite what the Republicans say.
We have to stabilize home prices which means we need people with jobs who can buy homes with mortgages. Unfortunately, as this crisis deepens, it begins to effect employment AND the ability of people to secure financing for homes. Without a market, the value of homes continues to drop. In the end, we fall into a Depression. THAT'S the end result of doing nothing.
Finally, there are some lesson we all need to take from this experience...
1) Regulation and enforcement are not obstacles to the success of the market. They are ESSENTIAL to the success of the market.
2) Capitalism has not failed. What failed was our obligation to oversee it and make it work for the majority.
3) Just because something is valued at nothing right now, it doesn't mean it's worthless.
One last point... one that everyone needs to understand unequivocally, if we don't do this the whole damn country fails. THAT'S the reality and all the whining about taxpayers footing the bill (which is a load of crap) isn't going to change it.
Methinks they doth protest well enough (and that's what has me worried)
So if we're to believe our eyes and ears, the Administration's bailout proposal sure has everyone on the Hill all frothing at the mouth.
I don't know about you folks, but it makes me real nervous-like when the Democratic congressional leadership rails this loudly about a Bush proposal this feculent. Because all too often, the squallin' and wall-eyed fits give way to The Big Cave-In [see, e.g., FISA, reauthorization of Iraq War funding, domestic spending levels, etc.].
At times, it seems as if this sort of rending of garments and gnashing of teeth is almost a kind of obligatory theatrical foreshadowing of a preordained tragic climax wherein vile douchebaggery and bitchassedness prevail over courage and righteousness. For you English majors out there not yet done with the metaphor, I suppose the denoument would be the part where said players engage in post hoc bitching about how the executive branch has usurped all the power and singlehandedly ruined the country and that's why only our side can provide the bold, gallant leadership the nation needs, bleh bleh bleh.
(And I type this while aiming Ye Olde Stinkeye in your direction, Nancy, Steny and Harry.)
Hopefully, things will be different this time. Maybe Democrats on the Hill will say, in one, big, loud unified voice, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" and imprint the Will of the People upon the forehead of Connecticut-native George W. Bush with the almighty knucklebling of Article One power. Maybe instead of handing a blank government check to the Gamma Beta House and hoping they'll notice the phrase "public service project" written on the memo line, Congress will pass some completely pinstriped-ass-whuppin' legislation and rock the nation with a new number one hit single, "Smells Like CEO Comeuppance."
Lord, I hope that happens. But I know better than to emotionally invest in that prospect. Kind of like how I learned, as a kid, to tense up any time I saw Charlie Brown on television hauling ass toward Lucy holding a football.
You know, a big heaping plate of pungent raw crow sure would taste good right about now.
Now I know who my Grandfather would have voted for
My Grandfather, for those of you who were unaware, was a HOOGE fan of Barry Goldwater. So is this guy.
And he's voting for Obama. Just kinda made me feel, in a way, that I'm exactly where I belong.
Still loving Sarah
Neocon pinup Sarah Palin continues to pay dividends for Democrats because her stances, which clearly define the difference between the two parties that hasn’t been this pronounced in years, are driving swing voters to Obama.
The outcome of this election will be a defining moment in United States history, not so much for the historical milestone of race and gender in the campaign itself, but of a paradigm shift of this country’s social and political philosophy of security versus liberty, the role of capitalism, and authoritarianism.
Make no mistake, this Republican campaign started well before 9/11, when the blueprint was designed in the 1960’s, field tested in the ‘70’s, introduced to the masses by Ronald Reagan, and turbocharged by George W. Bush. This has always been an orchestrated effort to squash citizens of their rights, and this election illustrates the difference between those who think people need to be told what to belief and those who believe that we can make up are own minds. The stakes are very high
The 2000 election, more an abomination of justice and one which will always be in doubt, and 2004, which saw a resurgence of Democratic grassroots trying to protect what many considered the last firewall against the political and social forces that want to transform this country into something quite different from what has guided our beliefs for over 200 years, were pre-season games to this Super Bowl.
After eight years of a Republican presidency, six of which was part of a twelve year control of Congress by the GOP, and a right-wing shift in the Supreme Court, this election is a referendum on conservatism. Even after all this country has endured since 1980, many conservative voters still consider the Republicans as guardians of their beliefs. That’s not going to change, and no amount of “showing them the light” is going to overcome their cultural insecurities and their refusal to face their own hypocrisy. Issues and personalities are only parts of the equation explaining why someone votes for a particular person. Just as important is a person’s world-view. Republicans call it ownership society, Democrats use the term common good.
That’s why independents are trending Obama. These voters have found that looking out for number one has caused hardships and divisiveness, but more importantly, they have realized that we are all in this together, and that by unity of purpose, this country’s better days are ahead.
I KNEW IT! Clay Aiken Trips Gaydar
Will Young could beat his ass any day. Actually, I take that back. Forget Clay's ass, really, forget it. Young can beat mine instead.
In the meantime, please enjoy this picture, yet again.
THAT IS ALL.
September 23, 2008
Rewriting history, with Kevin Hassett
Bloomberg is carrying some rather odious commentary from Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, the right wing institute which provides little in the way of real information and research but is LONG on commentary.
According to Kevin, this is all the fault of the Democrats because they wouldn't reform Fannie and Freddie. What Kevin doesn't point out is that the bill in question would have so severely curtailed Fannie and Freddie that it would have eliminated them as real competitors and an effective counterbalance to the banks. Kevin claims, stupidly, that the failure of Bear Stearns was caused by... Fannie Mae.
30 to 1 leverage in a CDO of CDO's had NOTHING to do with it, right Kev? Neither did Bear's never ending hunger for riskier and riskier sub-prime garbage that was priced inadequately for the inherent risk, I'm sure. Of course, I understand how you can make mistakes, Kev. After all, it's easy when you ignore reality.
Kevin also points out that FNMA is holding $388 bn in sub-prime and Alt A credits. That's true. Considering that at the height Wall Street was issuing $600-700 bn PER YEAR in sub-prime issues, it kinda dwarfs Fannie Mae's holdings. I'd also like to know just who issued those sub-prime credits on Fannie's books. I'd be willing to bet some of them show Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Credit Suisse as the vintners.
Of course, Kevin leaves all that out and points out his own ignorance of structured finance and the house cards by alluding that AIG was also collapsed (as if by magic) by Fannie Mae. AIG is even easier than Bear... they wrote too much insurance, too cheaply and when the call came for more collateral from counterparties, they couldn't sell assets fast enough... because they were carrying some the same assets they were insuring against default.
Brill business strategy, especially for an insurer.
Of course, Kevin can be excused for not knowing any of this. He is, after all, a political moron and (again) completely ignorant of finance. His only real work experience in business is at the AEI and as a McSame campaign adviser. Which puts him right up there with other economic luminaries like Carly Fiorina and the crew of lobbyists that McSame calls his close friends and advisers.
September 22, 2008
Another reason to hate Republicans
Nothing like kicking someone when they’re down.
To the undecideds - You still don't get it?
Good to see the US media is still up to the task
Why in the hell do I have to go to the Guardian for the lowdown?
First off, for a moment, take a look at this again. Specifically point one. Think about that every time you read something from one of the chicken little's on the right (or left) who are bleating on about toxic securities.
One more time, there is no such thing as a toxic security. There is only a toxic price. In other words, be rational about the prices you pay for assets and you'll be happy. The market for credits got very frothy and people overpaid either because they were dumb or they didn't really understand the securities they were buying. Now people have gone the opposite way and are unwilling to buy these assets at any price.
As the old saying goes, be greedy when others are fearful. Be fearful when others are greedy.
Unfortunately, it looks like many investors are going to take a pass on these assets. Which leaves the Fed's and the few willing and smart enough to jump into the fray (like JPM). First off, I'm pleased as punch about the government getting involved since the 'free' market has completely gone off the rails. However, Paulson's plan is still the wrong way to go.
We're also mostly on the same page (though I, unlike Stirling, don't subscribe to conspiracy theory) except for a few highlights...
1) Cramdowns - Basically, this is a modification for mortgages in markets with declining values. It's also useless. What about the homeowner who is making their payments EVEN though their home is worth less than they paid? There's really no need for this unless you're talking about doing a workout on someone who really can't afford the mortgage and the value has declined dramatically. However, I don't like the government getting a piece of the inevitable increase in value down the road through some kind of hitherto unknown lien position. If you're going to help people, help people.
My advice : Don't do this with anyone who has had a greater than 50% decline in value. That's what you'll get on a foreclosure. Anyone more underwater needs to just walk away with a wipeout on the mortgage history so they don't have an adverse hit on the credit report.
Last thing... change the tax laws to benefit workouts rather than foreclosures. It's easy... if a company does a workout that results in the loss of loan balance (say, from $200k to $150k) then they can take that as a loss against ordinary income immediately. If they foreclose, they have to take the loss on that against income over THREE years. Either way, you have to alter the law to keep these companies from 1099ing the people effected for the difference.
2) Not so much with a national emergency and rationing. Let's look at changing tax policy to increase wages for ordinary people. That'll take care of commodities inflation and our negative savings rate. And that whole petroleum thing can be easily fixed with biofuels. Actually, it WILL be fixed fast as long as oil is over $50/bbl.
I'm fine with expanding FDIC and LOVE what Obama is hitting on. Plus, as many of you know, I've always hated excessive levels of executive compensation. I say go for it, Congressional Democrats! Take this time to make this a real solution, instead of another Paulson bandaid.
Now, onto what's happening today. Obvs, the market loved the Paulson/Bush/McCain plan as much as we did. The Dow is down around 3% and oil has shot back up to $120/bbl as investors pull out of equities and dump speculative money into oil.
Needless to say, we ALL apparently want something other than another silly gimmick. Except for Michelle Malkin who has turned this into yet another attempt to divorce herself and her Party from responsibility for this problem.
Robert Novak called attention to Paulson’s Democrat DNA last October. It’s worth reminding you of Paulson’s instincts and the liberal allies he has installed at the Treasury Department
No, no, Bitch. Paulson's one of yours. And quit quoting that sad, old alcoholic. As for him bringing in 'libruls', the problem is that all your financial guys suck balls. They all end up going broke.
Everyone starts to get it...
It's becoming painfully obvious that even our friends on the right are beginning to realize that Sarah Palin's not ready for prime time. It's also becoming pretty clear that McCain's ads have been over the top which we've all been saying. But now, even Karl Rove is saying it which prompted this from the Obama campaign...
"In case anyone was still wondering whether John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in history, today Karl Rove - the man who held the previous record - said McCain's ads have gone too far," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.
On the topic of what the Dems in Congress could be doing, it's also abundantly clear that THEY are getting it. First up is our old buddy Nancy P who finally decided to take the gloves off and hit the glib, ridiculous and more than little incompetent Palin in the mouth.
Pelosi compared Palin's resume to that of President Bush's before he assumed the mantle of commander in chief. "I have a very high standard for president of the United States," the Speaker said. "I guess George Bush has proven that anybody can do it, but can they do it well? I think he has not. I think he has done great harm and damage to our country. I don't think this is something that you'd take a chance on. I think I've yet to see the credentials and the depth that the most powerful position in the world, the president of the United States, that somebody with her resume is able to take over that job."
Yeah, I know it's not much but at least Pelosi is finally off dead center and saying SOMETHING. Honestly, her mealy mouthed bullshit irritates the hell out of me, too. However, this is at least a sign of life and a hit. Luckily, we're getting much better stuff out of the Senate.
"One Senator -- John McCain -- woke up yesterday morning, surveyed the state of the U.S. economy, summoned the ghost of his fellow Republican, Herbert Hoover, and declared, 'The fundamentals of our economy are strong,'" said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, before laying responsibility for the current woes in part on McCain's economic adviser Phil Gramm.
Goddamn, Harry! Where the fuck have you been??!?! Welcome to the party and keep on chatting up the band. We're sick of their usual tune and we want them singing yours.
Finally, I leave you with ... well... this.
September 21, 2008
A special invitation to the Secretary of the Treasury
Seriously, THIS is what you came up with? A massive expansion of the Executive Branch, no help for homeowners and absolute power with a blank check?
It's clear to me now that Paulson has got to go and we need Bob Rubin back at Treasury. Larry Summers is wrong for the job (honestly, he's a dumbass anyway) and Rubin is the only one with the kind influence in financial and political circles to get something done. He's also far smarter than Paulson which should help.
We need to re-regulate commodities and derivative trading (fuck you, Phil Gramm, you dirt leg moron) and begin requiring a lot more capital be held by companies wishing to operate in the securities industry. No more of this 30 to 1 leverage bullshit. But I don't see that it this little 'plan'. I also don't see anything to help expand efforts already proceeding to pull borrowers out of bad mortgages. No, I'm not talking about a cram down and share the wealth plan (seriously, why even bother, Ian? You gonna give everyone who's upside down on a car note a bail out, too? Just get them outta the bad loan and regular appreciation will work out the gap), just a reworking of underwriting guidelines and insuring to allow people to get into affordable mortgages.
We needed real solutions and an indication of some sort of contrition. Instead, we get a brazen attempt to steal still more power for an out of control President.
Congress should act. The Democrats should write one hell of a bill and tell the President to sign it or we'll let everything go down the tubes.
Enough bullshit and politics. And Chairman Frank should immediately demand Paulson's resignation.
No, REALLY, Senator. We know where you REALLY stand
Y'all know I'd rather walk on my own tongue than say something nasty about someone...
YEAH, we did. Which makes me wonder why this old, stupid bastard is trying to keep this shit up? It makes me so goddamn mad I just want to strike someone. How else can you DEAL with someone who lies just to lie, completely irrationally and has no sense of remorse about it. You don't reason with that person and debating with them is like arguing with a television.
Seriously am I the only one just sick of it? And the fact that media is covering it as if it were something other than categorical bullshit?
September 20, 2008
Thanks, but I'm really busy that day...
Last night while having drinks with Barfly, she asked a very interesting question regarding AK First Dude Todd Palin's refusal to heed a subpoena.
Since when do you have the choice? I mean, Karl Rove was subpoenaed and he just said THA SHITS to all that. Now this Palin asshat has decided he'll not show up to answer TrooooooperGate (HATE THAT NAME) questions.
So can we all start ignoring subpoenas? Tell Congress to go fuck itself because it's just one giant bitch?
Top Ten Differences Between Sarah Palin And A Pit Bull
10. The Pit Bull has never tried to get any books banned.
9. The Pit Bull doesn't use its family as political props.
8. No Pit Bull has ever slashed funding for the Special Olympics
7. Pit Bulls are a darn sight smarter
6. The Pit Bull was never associated with a secessionist political movement.
5. Pit Bulls don't hunt from helicopters
4. Pit Bulls lay, Sarah lies
3. If you subpoena a Pit Bull, it shows up to testify
2. The Pit Bull doesn't think sleeping in the garage makes it an expert on transportation.
And the Number One difference between Sarah Palen and a Pit Bull:
One is a bloodthirsty, pitiless killing machine... the other is just a dog.
September 19, 2008
While you're all whining...
I'm endlessly amazed by the amount of bullshit floating on the right and left of the blogosphere when it comes to economic policy and financial markets.
Frankly, none of you seem to GET IT. I'm talking about those of you with advanced degrees. The rest of you mooks come across as little more than fucktards.
Here's the reality...
1) This BAD DEBT is not really BAD. BAD indicates complete non-performance and absolutely worthless collateral. Neither is the case, even in deep subprime portfolios overweighted with CA, specifically Inland Empire, mortgages. PERIOD. HOWEVER, it's all being priced as if none of the loans are paying and the collateral is all worthless. Which is entirely irrational. What's going to happen now is a cashflow analysis. And it's going to show I'm right. And people will finally start thinking again and acting from a position of confidence, not fear.
I LOVE mark to market accounting but in this case, people are using it as a rationale to drive stable, but wounded, companies over the edge. The reality is these loans aren't worthless. They're producing cashflow and the collateral has a lot more value than the market indicates.
2) Short selling ban is a FANTASTIC thing. Fuck your ideology, Darwinian sensibilities or other bent. Naked short selling, especially in an extraordinary market like this, is nothing more than an invitation for vultures to come in and start eating the living. This isn't a typical market... it's completely irrational and short selling is driving a lot of it. For those of you that don't know (which is the overwhelming majority in the sphere), here's how this works.
Company A has a decent but weakened balance sheet due to mark to market asset write-downs (the assets aren't necessarily worthless, they are still providing cash. But, because of accounting rules, because there is no liquid market for the securities, they have to be marked to zero). Still it has enough capital to meet it's covenants and counterparty commitments. Short B comes in and starts shorting the equity. Heavily. In one day it drags down the stock 5-10%. The next day when A goes to raise money in the capital markets (called funding, this money is the lifeblood of investment banks), the people lending are charging higher interest rates and requiring A up capital reserves because they are nervous due to the stock price. A coughs it up, artificially weakens their cash cushion and goes on with business. One of it's counterparties catches wind of the more expensive funding, puts that info together with the stock decline and decides it doesn't want to accept A's business anymore which means A can't put through trades for it's own book (a major profit center) or for it's customers (an even bigger profit center). Other counterparties catch wind of this and stop trading with A as well. Pretty soon, it can't conduct business because no one will take the other side of the trades. Then the funding dries up and suddenly A can't meet short term, revolving obligations. It's cash cushion declines precipitously, activating debt covenants and freezing still more capital. The shorts continue to pile on and soon the cash cushion is wiped out and the firm is forced to seek a buyer, help from the Feds or the sweet embrace of the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.
Was it stupid for A to be levered so highly? Yes. However, none of the panic would have occurred if the shorts hadn't been allowed to pile on. In an ordinary environment, I love short selling. I've used it many times, not to mention selling calls into a rally I knew was unsustainable. However, what is going on now (and people are bemoaning the loss of) is the financial markets equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. When people aren't acting rationally to begin with, it's stupid to allow people in the audience to start a panic.
That's just one aspect... what about the weak investment bank with a massive long position in one company that a short seller sees on their disclosures and decides to start shorting? As the short piles into the stock of the company, the investment bank's forced to liquidate it's holdings in the company, thereby driving the price lower, accelerating the selling by the shorts. At the end, the weak investment bank has lost millions and the ordinary shareholders who got trapped in the middle are just screwed. But the short sellers have made a killing.
Tell you what... I want to SEE what shorts are shorting. Specific companies, and specific positions. Let's level the playing field.
3) When does it stop? Why, when housing prices stop falling. When will housing prices stop falling? When there is financial liquidity back in the market and people can get loans to buy houses more easily. When will THAT happen?
WHEN THE MARKET STOPS TREATING ALL MORTGAGES LIKE RADWASTE.
That, in a nutshell, is THE deal. And that's what the Fed's are doing. And the people screaming about it are either delusional or stupid.
4) We shouldn't bail out people who make bad decisions. It introduces moral hazard.
Fuckall... I'm going to physically assault the next person who says this within earshot. Then I'm going to bend you over and assrape you. Seriously, THAT'S how motherfucking sick to death I am of hearing this. What, did you all wake up and think you were Bill Poole?!?!?
YES, some stupid people who took too much risk are going to bailed out in all this. However, it's not the ultra rich shareholders who will profit... it'll ultimately be the Government. The shareholder's equity has been wiped out in the case of Bear. And AIG. And Fannie. And Freddie. And Lehman (I got a ringside seat to this one!). SOME of the bondholders may end up with something, but even that's questionable. The only thing certain is that taxpayers are going to make off like bandits.
Company 1 has $300bn in assets and $200bn in debt. Suddenly, the market seizes up for some of the securities 1 holds in assets. The value, according to mark to market, drops to zero even though the assets are still performing and have cashflow. Still, they follow accounting rules and write down the assets, taking a $120 bn hit to assets. Which means they now have $180 bn in assets floating $200bn in debt. Which means equity is negative $20 bn and 1 is insolvent. The Feds step in, wipe out the shareholders, agree to cover the debt service with the income earned by the assets and hold the assets to term, if needed. The market, eventually, stabilizes, becomes rational and realizes "Hey. That shit really IS worth something" and the market returns. The Feds sell the assets for $250bn and settles the debts for $190 bn, realizing $60bn in the process.
Simplistic? You betcha. The mechanisms and actual workings are far more complex. However, that's HOW it will look. And the taxpayers will be better for it... not to mention the fact that they won't have to live through an economic depression.
5) But McBlogger, our debt (and the dollar) will be worthless. Bullshit. We're all so interdependent that the central banks around the world will be thrilled to death that we're getting a handle on the problem so the market can stabilize. THAT'S reality... MOST central banks, especially those not under the control of UoC Friedmanite ideologues, crave stability. And they'll pay a hefty premium for it.
6) Now we're a banana republic. Fuck. This one came from Sean-Paul at the Agonist. We've had our differences before but for the most part I tend to agree with him. Still, on this, he's retarded. Banana Republics lever up far over GDP. We haven't. We're not even close. We're also not turning into a socialist system. This is an asset work through. Don't try to glamorize it.
7) Oh, the government will just deval the dollar and pay the debt with worthless money. Nope. Not. Gonna. Happen. Either. For one thing, the actual cost of all this is going to be FAR less than many talking heads anticipate. For another, if Obama wins deficits are going to start declining. Dramatically through a combination of mechanisms. Which will strengthen the dollar and the value of federal debt. The Government will more than likely end up making money on all this.
8) We really need more regulation. ABSOLUTELY. But what we also need a lot of is ENFORCEMENT. We've had to jump in and save things because people became irrational. What we need now are mechanisms that will make irrationality very expensive.
9) What about the poor homeowners who got hoodwinked into subprime? Cry me a fucking river. Yes, there were a minority of consumers that got screwed and were taken advantage of. However, the vast majority just wanted the house, consequences be damned. They made the decision and willfully ignored the consequences of their actions. Did it ever occur to them that people who made $4000 per month might have issues paying a $3200/month mortgage? Sure, I can blame the banks for THEIR poor decision making, but most of the consumers who took these loans out made an irrational decision.
Even still, many of them are making payments and will be able to refinance. How do I know? Because I'm aggregating the damn loans. Daily. I see them come through one after another. It's happening so stop worrying about the little old lady losing her home.
10) What about efficient markets? Well, they never were efficient. It was always a stupid idea. Market's appear efficient, but that appearance is deceiving. Markets are made up of human beings who act irrationally at times. There's nothing efficient about irrationality.
Frankly, you all need to take a step back, suck in a deep breathe and chill the hell out. All your whining about whatever your particular problem with this is makes you look stupid because you fail to realize that the alternative is FAR worse. The Hoover moment, as another blogger put it, is to do nothing. And look how well that worked for Hoover the first time.
And just so you all know, I DID lose money on LEH. However, it wasn't just a huge amount (it was less than $30k) and most of my other holdings are doing well. This ain't coming from a place of "I got hurt"; I knew the risk when I tried to catch the falling knife. However, I also know that LEH's failure was a market breakdown, an irrational decision by the market to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Which is why, even now, the vultures are circling the corpse of LEH.
Dregs : Things you should care about...
Hard to get mad at a dog who acts like a dog.
Republican plot with a special twist
The Obama campaign has filed suit in federal court to keep Republicans in Michigan from using foreclosure lists to challenge voters at the polls. How's THAT for a Republican plan? You lose your house and we take away your right to vote.
Of course, that's nothing compared to what's allegedly being talked about here in Texas... using Ike to keep people who've lost homes from voting. No, no... you read correctly. Texas Republicans are looking for a way to keep people who lost their homes to a natural disaster from voting.
Are you there money? It's me, John Davis.
Last night while I was looking at all the money I've lost in my brokerage account (thank you Lehman bankruptcy! You're soooo totally my friend!) from the current financial collapse (not to be confused with the financial collapse of a few months ago. Or the one from last fall. Or the one from last summer) I started thinking about what I could do with some of the money I've not lost as the result of the collapse of a financial giant run by dipshits with MBA's from Wharton.
The most appropriate thing was to donate to Sherrie Matula. Because she rocks and because she's got a real douchebag for an opponent.
How big a douchebag you ask? Well, you know how his district was hit pretty hard by Ike? And how other politicos and candidates have suspended campaigning to help their friends and neighbors with recovery efforts? Yeah, he kinda said THA SHITS to all that and has decided to press on with a high rollin', lobbyist funded hoe down here in Austin where the power is still on and the drinks flow like water from a tap that's actually working. Which is kind of ironic since some of Johnny's constituents don't have running water in their homes.
I would say something stinks down in HD 129 but since we don't really know if Rep. Davis is even there, or even if he's in Texas, it's hard to pinpoint from exactly where the smell is coming. But we can say, with an unbelievable amount of certainty, that it is him that stinks.
September 18, 2008
And with that, the McCain campaign does the same thing that Hewlett-Packard's board and shareholders did so many years ago.
You suck, Carly. No really, you do. No, YOU suck. K? Great.
Honestly, when will Republicans learn that modern managers are a mostly retarded bunch?
To H--- With The Dons!
Remember the Maine!
I shan't treat with
That fellow in Spain!
Q: What is change?
A: Rick Noriega.
What? You REALLY though John Cornyn wasn't more of the same?
Capitol Area Food Bank needs your help
Click here for more information...As much as we might not want to acknowledge it, the food bank serves a lot of people in our community who need help. Not to mention some of our new friends, courtesy of Ike. Please help them out if you can.
(H/T to Matt at BOR)
September 17, 2008
The Tyrrany Of Low Expectations
From the mouth of Carly Fiorina, we get today's confession that neither Sarah Palin nor John McCain are qualified to run Carly's old corporation, Hewlett Packard.
That said, she's plenty willing to let either of them have a go at the PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Says it all, no? This comment, ladies and gents, provides a keyhole into the priorities of the right wing elite: When it comes to private interests making money, only the best and the brightest will do. But government? Hell, the JV squad is good enough. After all, government only takes care of the society at large. Corporations, on the other hand, make a handful of people rich, rich, rich!
When you think about it, this explains so much. It explains George W. Bush's transition from oil executive to the Presidency ("Well, he fucked up Arbusto and Carlyle good and proper. Let's demote him to the public sector and see what he can do with the World's Premiere Superpower.")
It also explains how people like Brownie and Governor Palin's cow-loving BFF from high school get entrusted with enormously important jobs that might actually affect the public at large.
In short, if you share Grover Norquist's fantasy of drowning government in a bathtub, it makes sense to entrust it to people too dumb to swim.
THIS is good...
My wonderful friends, the adults are back in town...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered a broad, swift investigation of Wall Street and will demand testimony from Bush administration officials and captains of finance, congressional officials said.
House Democrats plan to aggressively look at the administration’s role in the meltdown over the weekend and to explore further regulation and government structures that would be taken up under the new president.
Republican aides accused Democrats of trying to shift blame with a series of “show trials,” but acknowledged that key officials will wind up cooperating.
The hearings will take place over the next few weeks, the officials said. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who regularly appears on Capitol Hill, will be called to testify as part of the investigation.
As the main event, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight committee, wrote to Richard Fuld, chief executive of the imploded Lehman Brothers, to ask him to appear on Capitol Hill on Sept. 25.
“The hearing will examine the regulatory mistakes and financial excesses that led to yesterday's bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers,” Waxman wrote. “The committee will also explore the impacts of the Lehman bankruptcy on financial markets and the United States economy.”
This, just so you know, is all about regulation or rather the lack thereof. For the last 28 years, Republicans have fought tooth and nail to deregulate everything in sight. Now, we're all living with the consequences. It's not that private enterprise is bad or inherently harmful... it's that humans make mistakes and let greed override good decision making. The result is that the Fed has to step in and lend private enterprise $80 billion... and shareholders take it on the chin. All because regulation was bad.
I wonder how many AIG shareholders would agree with that tonight? The money quote goes to Rep. Barney Frank"
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke had not requested any new legislative authority for the bailout at Tuesday night’s meeting. “The secretary and the chairman of the Fed, two Bush appointees, came down here and said, ‘We’re from the government, we’re here to help them,’ ” Mr. Frank said. “I mean this is one more affirmation that the lack of regulation has caused serious problems. That the private market screwed itself up and they need the government to come help them unscrew it.”
Couldn't have said it better, Mr. Chairman.
Last thing... for those of you morons out there still fighting re-regulation and throwing around terms like moral hazard, there's this. The reality is that it was absolutely insane for a company like AIG or any market player to enhance credits with relatively small one time payments. At some point, the three sigma event you kept thinking would never happen, will happen. And then you're left staring into the abyss.
For some more, I'd like to point you here. What the Dem's in Congress are doing is absolutely perfect from a policy AND political standpoint. It's about time these folks went toe to toe with the Republicans and started hitting them in the face.
September 16, 2008
Annals Of Medicine
Bush has benign lesion removed from forehead
To borrow a remark from Evelyn Waugh, what a triumph of science to have removed the only bit of him that isn't malignant.
Warrantless Wiretapping... the inside story.
And now, we know... the entire saga and just close Cheney and Bush came to throwing the country under the bus. Part one is here, and part two is here. My favorite part is when Comey gives Cheney sycophant Addington his comeuppance.
This program, Cheney said, was vital. Turning it off would leave us blind. Hayden, the NSA chief, pitched in: Even if the program had yet to produce blockbuster results, it was the only real hope of discovering sleeper agents before they could act.
"How can you possibly be reversing course on something of this importance after all this time?" Cheney asked .
Comey held his ground. The program had to operate within the law. The Justice Department knew a lot more now than it had before, and Ashcroft and Comey had reached this decision together.
"I will accept for purposes of discussion that it is as valuable as you say it is," Comey said. "That only makes this more painful. It doesn't change the analysis. If I can't find a lawful basis for something, your telling me you really, really need to do it doesn't help me."
"Others see it differently," Cheney said.
There was only one of those, really. John Yoo had been out of the picture for nearly a year. It was all Addington.
"The analysis is flawed, in fact facially flawed," Comey said. "No lawyer reading that could reasonably rely on it."
Gonzales said nothing. Addington stood by the window, over Cheney's shoulder. He had heard a bellyful.
"Well, I'm a lawyer and I did," Addington said, glaring at Comey.
"No good lawyer," Comey said .
In the end, they got the variance and criminal cover they needed... From the partnership of EVERY Congressional Republican and a few Blue Dog Democrats.
What HAS Tricky Ricky screwed up now?
First up, Vince posts this at Capitol Annex (which is not, as you might think, a site about banking) regarding the confusions over the PODs. Apparently, the State had to back down it's participation in the recovery due to poor planning and really retarded logistics.
Seriously, go read the article. First off, they deploy resources without know where they were ultimately going to be needed. Second, they don't admit the mistake, they just drop others in the grease. Finally, the City of Houston and Harris County personnel jump in and fill the gaps. And where's FEMA during all this? Well, the skeletal frame of Mike Chertoff has been spotted wandering the streets.
Tricky Ricky, unwilling to admit how bad the State has botched relief and recovery, has instead decided to try to keep the media out. Which is, as you can tell, going splendidly.
Say goodbye to '10, Goodhair.
September 15, 2008
But you voted for it, Senator...
Think Progress has a great hit up about Palin and McCain's support of the Agency bailout (I'll post my thoughts in the supersize).
In an op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) reluctantly endorsed the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, arguing that the two institutions' lobbyists are the "primary contributors to this great debacle." McCain and Palin wrote that, should they be elected, their administration would "no longer use taxpayer backing to serve lobbyists, management, boards and shareholders."
Here's the thing, John. You VOTED, over and over again, to deregulate. Because you thought that would free up the Invisible Hand and we'd all be better off. Lo and behold, you and the other Republicans discovered that what the Democrats knew and were SCREAMING all along was right... business needs oversight because left to it's own devices, it'll foul it's own bed.
Now that it's all come crashing down, you can't admit your error and are, like a degenerate gambler, doubling down in an all-or-nothing effort to deflect blame and avoid the inevitable conclusion that your ideology is a bankrupt as the banking system.
But, I guess I'd do the same thing if so many of the staffers, senior advisers and FRIENDS were lobbyists at one point or another for the Agencies. You should be proud, John McCain. You've mastered the art of talking out of both sides of your mouth.
As for the bailout, I'm pretty disappointed but not really surprised. For one thing, there were easier ways to inject capital into Fannie and Freddie without taking on as much risk or wiping out the poor shareholders. I am THRILLED to see management turned out of both companies as I had absolutely no respect for either of them. All in all though, the Friedmanites engineered their chance and now Fannie and Freddie are on the chopping block.
What kills me about this is that it was purely and simply a crisis of confidence. People were afraid the government wouldn't backstop the Agencies which forced them to do just that. And then there is Lehman today which is reporting close to $640 bn in assets and a little over $600 bn in liabilities. Sounds good, right? We'll see how much of that is marketable and how much is pure level three and untradable at any price. I'd also like to know non-performance in the mortgage pools. But that's just my curiosity... I have a feeling that as bad as things are, they ain't that bad.
What brings down a bank like Lehman is the same thing that brought down Bear and would bring down any investment bank. Their funding, the money they need to revolve to float their balance sheet, evaporated. Without it, the bank couldn't survive. The fun part of all this is figuring out how much of this was Lehman... and how much was the result of it's financiers getting cold feet (not to mention it's counterparties).
This should SOLIDLY put the lie to all those morons on the right who think everything would be better... without as much regulation. As predicted, no regulation means common sense is replaced with raw greed and poor credit decisions. Discipline, when billions are involved, goes out the window when their is no examiner coming into your office a few times a year to make sure you haven't gone hog wild.
To the first person who brings me...
... a bottle of this will receive my thanks.
Açaí, pronounced ah-sigh-EE, is the basis of VeeV, a new 60-proof liqueur that is an infusion of the berries and some other tropical fruits. It is not too sweet, and would be a fine component in cocktails, even replacing the vermouth in a martini or the Grand Marnier in a cosmopolitan. It is about $35 in liquor stores, including Astor Wines & Spirits. A dollar of every bottle is contributed to the Sambazon Sustainable Açaí Project, which works to ensure that the harvesting of açaí does not harm the environment.
Fruity? Sure. But so am I.
And here is Eileen's review of Governor Palin with Charlie Gibson. The verdict? Exceeded the already low expectations. On the downside.
September 14, 2008
Tomorrow could be hella bad UPDATED
Item one, Lehman Brothers buyout talks break down when Barclay's balks at assuming Lehman's counterparty risk without a backstop. Broker/Dealers are already working on settlements of Lehman trades in preparation for the firms liquidation Monday morning.
Item two, Bank of America is in advanced talks to buy Merrill Lynch.
My prediction? Hold on to something... this could easily drive down the indices by 5-10% tomorrow.
UPDATE - 10:50 PM
AIG is now requesting $40 BILLION in liquidity from the Fed. So far this year, AIG has raised $20 billion.
It's a special kind of douchebag that gets called out by Joy Behar...
JOY BEHAR: "There are ads running from your campaign, one of them is saying that Obama, when he said you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig, was talking about Sarah. There's another ad that says that Obama was interested in teaching sex education to kindergarteners. Now, we know that those two ads are untrue, they're lies. And yet you at the end of it say I approve these messages. Do you really approve them?"
JOHN MCCAIN: "Actually, they are not lies." [ABC, "The View," 9/12/08]
Where once I had respect for Senator McCain, I have nothing left but cynicism and extreme distrust. Or, to put it in terms we'd use here in Texas, I wouldn't piss on that son of a bitch if he was on fire and I'd just drank a case of beer (set it to an East or West Texas accent to really get how perfect it is).
Fuck that old Bastard. Fuck him straight to hell.
And his staff...
Good Job, Ari Melber!
September 13, 2008
What part of EVACUATE wasn't clear?
Seriously, not knowing your individual situations, it's hard for me to criticize. But REALLY? It's not like there weren't people on every damn channel saying if you stay, you'll die. Were you just trying to be the jackass that proved them wrong so you could tell people until they're bored out of the minds that you "rode out Ike... wasn't no big deal"?
Storm Of The Century Of The Week Bypasses Austin
Damn. What am I going to do with this pallet of flashlight batteries?
September 12, 2008
Dregs : No more kids for you and Hurricane! The Porno
IMHO, that's a damn good idea in situations like this. And it'll be fun to see if it's upheld on appeal!
q. Where's the evacuation point?
a. In the back of your mouth and everyone's cumming.
Calling all math majors!
Quick, what is 313,000 divided by 400?
Because that's the multiplier the media needs to apply to the John Edwards Haircut Quotient in determining the frequency, saliency and duration of its reporting on Cindy McCain's conventioneering wardrobe.
I trust the "Liberal Media" will strictly adhere to this equation.
McThuselah and his minions
These are just a few of the WTF things that McThuselah has done that you may have missed. We're sure there's more, this is just the poop we caught.
Instead, he said his job re-training proposals coupled with an “emphasis on new technology” in the automotive sector would boost employment.
McCain, battling a slight cold, was responding to an employee at the Lordstown General Motors plant who asked him what he would to make trade agreements “a little bit more fair.”
The presumptive GOP nominee said he does not believe “that every trade agreement is totally fair” and promised to “do everything in my power to make sure that trade practices practiced by our trading partners are fair and equitable.”
See, this is what's funny about McThuselah and his shitty memory... We had programs to help retrain and educate workers for new programs. At least, we did until McThuselah and his Republican buddies killed it in the name of 'fiscal responsibility'.
As for working to make things fair, there are some things that need to change in CAFTA to make it fair. And NAFTA. If you're not going to work to do that, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Other than pander and lie?
I can totally see how she'd make the mistake of not know where something was actually sold and for how much. It's not like it was her money. She was just the one Alaskan's hired to look over it.
There's also this list of lies, distortions and exaggerated myths about Palin. Which makes for a good read if you're looking for the real Sarah, especially since the media's not going to get a crack at her.
Green Jobs and Reality (well, according to John Stossel)
I LOVE it when reporters try to get into economic and business stories! It's where you really get to see their politics and find out exactly where they're aligned.
In the case of John Stossel, he's been such an advocate for charter schools and vouchers that it's never been hard to figure out. His stories slant to the right so badly that you'd think the only folks he talked to for the piece were from the American Enterprise Institute.
However, the simple truth is that he's an idiot. With a dirt squirrel on his face. Here's his piece on green jobs and this stood out like McCain in a hospital nursery.
Even if the program creates jobs building bridges or windmills, it necessarily prevents other jobs from being created. This is because government spending merely diverts money from private projects to government projects.
Governments create no wealth. They only move it around while taking a cut for their trouble. So any jobs created over here come at the expense of jobs that would have been created over there. Overlooking this fact is known as the broken-window fallacy (http://tinyurl.com/ydasa2). The French economist Frederic Bastiat pointed out that a broken shop window will create work for a glassmaker, but that work comes only at the expense of the cook or tailor the shopkeeper would have patronized if he didn't have to replace the window.
My hand to God, I don't know why anyone would listen to this asshat. For one thing, government has created a lot of wealth merely by enforcing the RULE OF LAW. Without it there's no patent protection, no trademarks and no courts in which to sue. Without it, there is very little profit to be made since anyone can come along, take your idea, and do it cheaper. In short, there's no stability. Just contract enforcement has created trillions in wealth for private enterprise. John doesn't think about that in his simplistic little world.
Now, on to the jobs, modern aviation was created in large part due to the spending by the government on airplanes during WW2. Aviation is a trillion dollar industry that got a tremendous jump up in the 1940's thanks to people in the War Department who spent billions of your grandparent's and great-grandparent's tax dollars on research and development.
The essential point, which Stossel completely misses, is that some projects and undertakings are so big and so necessary that only government can do it. Private industry can't afford the risk. Even in combination, it would be tough. Only government has the wherewithal to put in the investment and let it build entirely new industries. Then it steps aside and, with the risk mitigated, allows private enterprise to step in and take it to the market.
While Obama may spend $150 billion on this, it'll save us (at a minimum) $600 billion per year in foreign oil. That's money that can be used to pay Americans for their work. That's a pretty good investment in our future. One that, I'm sure, even John Stossel will agree is a good one.
If only he'd stop parroting partisan dogma as fact and start thinking things through. Either that or just trust those of us who are far more intelligent. And competent.
September 11, 2008
Jokes of My Father's : The WalMart Cake
House District 129 Evacuating
Here at mcblogger, we just got word that House District 129 - the Clear Lake/NASA area - is under mandatory evacuation today starting at noon. Sherrie Matula is the Democratic challenger in this District. Her staff and volunteers are busy this morning securing their headquarters and removing their large signs from around the area, before they pack up and head out of town.
While they are preparing for the hurricane, will you help them reach their $10,000 Annie's List match goal? The match goes through Sunday at midnight.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the good folks on the Gulf Coast.
Barfly Reviews... Date My Ex : Jo and Slade
I am so excited to be able to present Barfly Reviews... in which my beloved and usually inebriated sib will review some of the garbage she watches. And I, usually, am secretly watching as well though I'll never admit to it. Well, maybe I'll admit to Gossip Girl.
What? It's a good show!
McBlogger has wanted me to post something about this truly horrible show for some time. Honestly, I didn't want to watch a single episode. I mean it basically combines two things that I really loathe: dating shows and Slade Smiley. Even worse, Slade Smiley in crinkle scarves! Urgh! Seriously, what was that about?
Anyway, I managed to make it through season 1 which is a dubious achievement at best. It proved to be so incredibly vapid, I honestly believe that I could have posted this without watching a fucking episode. First, the male contestants. One might be tempted to feel sorry for the idiots if they weren't such a blatantly boring, fame seeking bunch of sycophants. Some of them make my exes look good and McBlogger knows exactly how low on the evolutionary chain that puts them! Jo managed to weed out an asshole and three other guys that were just paler versions of each other. After she kicked out the troublemaker who dared to challenge Slade, any detectable novelty went out the door with him.
Yet the others remained to compete for the prize that is....Jo? Yeah, I guess Jo is okay. Okay compared to the vacuous slabs of flesh that populate the O.C. Am I alone in thinking her cute blonde friend is far more interesting? And that her brunette friend is far more beautiful? Oh and please, don't tell me it's because of her musical talent. 'You Can't Control Me' was like a cat vomiting while some bad cover band played in the background! You may absolutely love mediocre manufactured pop poop, but I doubt you'll find my sharing this a kindness.
Yet, inevitably, Slade threw his cheesy fucking cap back into the ring in the incredibly obvious big zinger of the season. There are coma victims that saw that coming. Why? Because while Jo & Slade may deign to share camera time with the others, at the end of the day it's really ALL ABOUT THEM! SURPRISE! At least Bravo kept it brief, and Jo shattered the last remnants of Slade's pride with a mercenary glee. Slade seemed to be happy with the camera time though.
So, Jo then decided to leave town with crew for San Diego. She came to the conclusion that on picking a new man, she should start fresh. I can totally see where she was coming from can't you? I mean, it would be kinda tacky to pick out her new boyfriend right in front of her old boyfriend! Which leads me to wonder why the fuck she couldn't have figured that out when the BravoProgrammingBrainTrust came 'a-calling!
So, it came down to a chipper fucker that- I shit you not- built her a bear and Printed V-Neck T-Shirt Guy. I have to call him that because there is absolutely nothing remotely interesting to say about the guy. Apparently even Jo could sense that sad fact, and she gave him the boot. Build-A-Bear must have captured Jo's heart! Yep, the business development manager, Lucas, can get ready for some serious body glitter in his future. I just hope he has some ear plugs.
September 10, 2008
Damn, Obama... that's not the phrase to use!
As reported earlier, the RETARDS (still looking at you former Governor Swift) at the McCain campaign are demanding an apology from Obama for his comment in reference to McCain's weak effort to label himself as a change agent (you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig) which they interpreted (they're dumb like that) as a slam on their pathetic Veep candidate. In short they thought Obama was calling Sarah Palin a
First off, I don't really want to get into a discussion on Governor Palin's sexual proclivities. I do know from experience that people who project a very dominant personality in public tend to be extremely submissive in the bedroom (not to mention being into some pretty gross stuff). AND YES, IT'S DISAPPOINTING.
Second, a quaint, parochial phrase might be a great idea, but you have to be careful which one you choose. I'd like to recommend
You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit
to describe McCain and his worthless ideas.
What? I want to HEAR Jane Swift actually ask if Sen. Obama is calling Sen. McCain a chickenshit. Then I want her head to explode from the resulting apoplexy when the Obama campaign laughs at her.
Just a question...
If Sarah Palin is so tough, so competent, so ready to assume the Presidency should McCain die (as seems very possible), why is it so hard to get her to talk about anything or accept an interview? I mean, she can give one hell of a speech (even if it is full of lies).
And then there was Rick Davis. McCain's campaign manager, appearing on the Fox New Channel, told Chris Wallace that Palin would not be subjected to reporters questions "until the point in time when she'll be treated with respect and deference."
Ripping the fourth estate for a perceived bias towards the Alaska Governor, Davis went on.
"She's not scared to answer questions," he said, "but you know what? We run our campaign not the news media... Sarah Palin will have the opportunity to speak to the American people. She will do interviews, but she'll do them on the terms and conditions" the campaign decides.
Respect and deference? This is politics, booboo, and if you can't stand in the light and account for yourself then you ain't up to the job. Period. Will the campaign get to decide what problems she'll face if, God forbid, McCain wins and then dies?
Here's the thing, Ricky. Your candidate's running mate lies. A lot. She may be common as dirt, but she's still a liar. Even still, that doesn't mean any of the sad sacks in political reporting today (looking at YOU, Stephanopolous) will call out her bullshit. So what ARE you afraid of? What is SHE so afraid of?
And to THIS loser, you need a klonopin. Really.
Here's another question... why doesn't McCain want children educated to know when they are being assaulted by a pedophile? Maybe he doesn't want children to know what touching is OK and what isn't? Maybe McCain has something he'd like to share?
We Will All Go Together When We Go
Some worry that the world will collapse into a black hole when scientists fire up the Giant Hadron Collider today. I say bring it on! It would certainly help with a couple of pesky deadlines at work. Not to mention getting a phone call from Sister Ruth every time there's a new presidential poll out.
This just in : The Palin Truth Squad is...
Just so there is absolutely no mistake, YES, JANE SWIFT, I'M CALLING YOU A RETARD. YOU AND THE OTHERS ON THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN TAKING PART IN YOUR SQUAD.
Sorry, just wanted to make sure, if by some miracle you saw this, that you understood my meaning completely.
September 09, 2008
What a lovely per diem you have there, Sarah!
While everyone knew Palin's rep as a reformer was as undeserved as McCain's for being a maverick (what we would call just another angry old man), what we didn't know was exactly HOW ballsy she was about sucking off government's teat...
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.
Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.
The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.
Lemme get this straight... you have a job that pays you $125,000 per year. In Alaska. And comes with it's own house. Still, you choose to live more than 600 miles away from your job AND you use a state office building for your convenience.
Oh, and while you're 600 miles away from your responsibilities, you're billing the tax payers of the state to stay in your OWN HOUSE?
September 08, 2008
Jokes of My Fathers : The Meter Maid
Last Friday, I went to downtown Memphis to attend a barbeque lunch just off Riverside Drive and when I came out on the sidewalk, there was this Meter Maid type MPD cop writing out a parking ticket.
I said to her, 'Come on, how about giving a retired person a break'?
She ignored me and continued writing the ticket. Her insensitivity annoyed me, so I called her a 'Nazi.'
She glared at me and then wrote out another ticket 'because the car has worn tires.'
So I proceeded to call her a 'doughnut eating Gestapo.' Knowing I could get away with this because how Memphis trains its cops to say yes sir and no sir to all and to be super polite under stress.
She finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield under the wiper blade with the first.
Then she wrote a third ticket when I called her a moron in blue.
This went on for about 10 minutes. The more I talked back to her the more tickets she wrote.
Personally, I didn't really care. I came downtown on the bus, (because gas is so darn expensive) and the car that she was putting the tickets on had one of those bumper stickers that said, 'W04.'
I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. The doctor tells me that it's important to my health.
No, this wasn't my father. He's not retired and he hates Memphis. Mostly for the same reason I love it... smoking in the airport. Good times.
Oh, yes... let's just elect the man in the pulpit
I've long been of the opinion that when you mix politics and religion, you (as unbelievable as it may sound) cheapen both. That's really saying something considering that neither have what would be considered a stellar brand. Now some asshat group is trying to get churches to help with an experiment that stands a good chance of breaking down the laws restricting churches from endorsing political parties and candidates.
What KILLS me about this is that Churches CAN endorse political candidates and parties now. All they have to do is give up their tax exempt status. What these people want to do is maintain their tax exempt status and actively campaign for political candidates.
Here's how this plays out... if they win, they lose as a movement will grow to tax churches. It'll also signal the end of the megachurches as the vast majority of Americans really don't want to hear a stump speech Sunday morning along with their weekly passage from the Old Testament (that's for the Baptists).
No one will really care in the end because deep down, Americans may love Jesus and God Almighty, but we really think our preachers are a bunch of strange drunks. Which they usually are.
Liberal bias in the media? Oh, pish...
Listening to McThuselah rage about the liberal bias in the media got me thinking that it might be a good idea to actually analyze this supposed media bias and find out if he was whining about something real or just whining.
According to the LATimes, someone beat me to it.
Haters of the mainstream media reheated a bit of conventional wisdom last week.
Barack Obama, they said, was getting a free ride from those insufferable liberals.
Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to Politico.com to CBS News and beyond.
But now there's additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed -- with particular venom -- at three broadcast networks.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.
You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.
During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.
Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.
So that covers the broadcast folks... what of the other anklebiters like Fox News?
By the way, Lichter's group also surveys the first half-hour of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Fox News' answer to the network evening news shows.
The review found that, since the start of the general-election campaign, "Special Report" offered more opinions on the two candidates than all three networks combined.
No surprise there. Previous research has shown Fox News to be opinion-heavy.
"Special Report" was tougher than the networks on Obama -- with 79% of the statements about the Democrat negative, compared with 61% negative on McCain.
There's plenty of room for questioning the networks' performance and watching closely for symptoms of Obamamania.
But could we at least remain focused on what ABC, NBC and CBS actually put on the air, rather than illusions that their critics create to puff themselves up?
Now, would someone tell Ted Baxter to quit whining before 'the folks' decide to spit on him?
September 07, 2008
I remember this when it was just a bitingly funny clipart cartoon
Now Get Your War On is a bitingly funny clipart animation...
THAT was offensive
I hadn't really wanted to delve back into the R convention, but this caught my eye. I didn't see the video that night, I tuned in only for McThuselah. If I had, I probably would have been livid.
While the Democratic candidates this cycle treated 9/11 and those who died that day with reverence and respect, the Republican candidates (Guiliani and McCain especially) have continuously used those people and their loved ones for political gain in the most shameful and offensive manner possible. This video should not have shocked me the way it did... I should be accustomed to offensive, unAmerican ploys from the Republicans. But it did.
To my core, as an American, this offended me deeply.
Get it, Sister Ruth?
I found this recently on Greek Tragedy...
When people in my life preface what they’re about to say with, “you cannot write about this on your blog,” I pretty much always respond, “Don’t flatter yourself.” You’re not that important or interesting (even if you are). It’s the one thing in life we find so hard to believe: that no one notices or pays nearly as much attention to us as we do.
Sister Ruth is ALL THE TIME doing this. Actually, many of you do. Seriously, when was the last time I wrote some weird detail of your life on the blog?
Oh, that's right. NEVER.
Here's how this goes... if I want to publish something I'll ask you.
September 06, 2008
THIS is our VP
I'll admit, I wasn't super enthusiastic about Sen. Biden. Until now.
Go get 'em, Joe!
MOTO Of The Week : ABC News/WaPo
ABC News and the Washington Post did a poll recently and the shocking (shocking, I tell you!) results are that partisan affiliation colors the views of Republican Vice Presidential pick Sarah Palin. To save you from having to endure two pages of tortured writing, not to mention the ramblings of the people interviewed for the piece, I'll put in the best part...
But some questioned whether the vice president needs extensive experience, particularly with regard to foreign policy. "The vice president doesn't really have to have a lot of that," said Carol Kirk, 65, of Buckeye, Ariz. "A lot of that can be learned on the job."
Kirk said that someone with atypical experience could be beneficial to the country. "I think that she would think more about women's issues than would a man," she said. "It's about time that the women had someone looking after their issues."
Yeah, it hit me like a baseball bat, too. Carol's excited because someone will be 'looking after women's issues' if McCain wins and Palin become VP? I guess Carol hasn't heard that she's against, well, everything that women care about and is actually a bigger believer in restricting the rights of woman than McCain.
Oh, yes, Carol. She'll really be thinking all about women's issues. She'll be thinking about how to make you sure you and your fellow women don't get out of your place. Which is totally in the house, cooking, cleaning and basically being a baby factory.
After all, we only need one liberated woman. And Sarah is the one.
Harry Balczak's Reminder To You People II: Flip-Flop Boogaloo
Hello. Balczak here. Been awhile since You People have been reminded of what you did just four short years ago. If nothing else, some of You People probably need a gentle nudge from the peaceful slumber induced by Joementum Loserman's speech the other night. Geez, what happened, y'all? Four years ago, your token defector was firebreathing, duel-challenging, crazier-than-a-shithouse-rat Zell Miller. This year, we get Droopy Dawg after someone spiked his oatmeal with downers.
To put things in historical perspective, just four short years ago, Sarah Palin was still only Mayor of Hooterville, bravely defending its townsfolk from polar bears, books, and recalcitrant librarians. John McCain was out on the campaign trail whoring out for the candidate who, only four short years before that, punked out McCain in true, first-day-in-the-cellblock fashion (you say "maverick", I say "prison bitch", let's call the whole thing off). Barack Obama was busting out on the national scene in a soaring convention speech and went on to win a landslide Senate victory. Joe Biden was calling out the Bush administration for its Iraq fuckups on a seemingly weekly basis.
So now, two points for You People to remember about the last election when you're thinking about this one.
First, You People need to remember that four years ago, Republican convention delegates sported purple band-aids to mock the military service of John Kerry in Vietnam. Tonight, however, You People all choked up as John McCain heavily pimped his Vietnam POW story. Now imagine, as you recall how choked up you were listening to that speech, if Democratic delegates had mocked McCain the way some of You People mocked Kerry. Imagine Democratic delegates tossing torn paper airplanes across the convention floor, or tossing around those little plastic toy paratroopers. Hard to imagine something so offensive, right?
This is just a microcosm of the larger point You People need to be reminded of: one party truly respects veterans and one party decides whether to salute our veterans or flip them off based on what's politically convenient. Barack Obama has fought to improve conditions at Walter Reed. Both in the White House AND Congress, Republicans have fought to cut veteran benefits and services, all the while demanding that those same veterans sacrifice far beyond what anyone could have reasonably expected when they signed up for duty. For You People with fossilized ideology from 1980, the GOP treatment of veterans reflects the same something-for-nothing ethic as the proverbial welfare queen not working but expecting a lavish welfare check and a brand new Cadillac. If you've voted for them, you've shit on vets, too.
Second, You People sat and heard John McCain tell you last night that he has found religion and seen the light. He wants change! He rejects the last 8 years. Who Bush? George Do-Whut? This from the man who voted with Bush 90 PERCENT OF THE TIME. Four years ago, You People called that sort of shift a 'Flip-Flop'. You People were decidedly against Flip Flopping. Therefore, you are bound by your own principles to vote against McCain. To do otherwise would make you a Flip-Flopper.
Of course, some of You People have come around the last four years and now recognize that maybe change can be a good thing, especially if we're talking about the economy. For this group, I leave You People with a riddle: What's the difference between John McCain and a dollar bill?
A dollar bill will at least get you four quarters of change.
September 05, 2008
Where water burns
Man, this sounds like a damn good reason to think about relocating from North Texas.
The Leo Berman Funny
I don't know if BurkaBuddy (that's our new name for him) was trying to be funny or was just reporting the funny...
But wait... it gets better!One of the first Texans I saw was Leo Berman. I asked him if he had heard any of the delegates express unhappiness that McCain had chosen Sarah Palin instead of Kay Bailey Hutchison. “Oh, no,” he said. “Kay is pro-choice. There isn’t a single person in this delegation who is pro-choice.” We also talked a little about immigration. “David Swinford [chairman of State Affairs] killed all the bills last time,” he said. “That isn’t going to happen this time. If it does, if we can’t get our immigration bills passed, there are going to be some more people in the governor’s race. I’m considering running for governor myself.”
Yesterday there was an altercation at the Phyllis Schlafly luncheon. Sarah Palin was supposed to attend, but she couldn’t make it. An uninvited guest showed up — a peace activist who ran up to the front of the room carrying a banner that said “PEACE!” Two intrepid Texans — state reps. Leo Berman and Jodie Laubenberg — wrestled her away.
What bitches y'all are! Two of you were necessary to 'wrestle' a peace protester? Are you kidding? Leo, you're really a giant worthless cuntrag.
R Convention Wrapper
"I live in the American heartland, and have been a governor [here] for six years," she said. "I don't know any mayor in any small town in Kansas -- and we have a lot of mayors of small towns -- who hires a lobbyist and goes after earmarks the way Sarah Palin did." On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that, as mayor of Wasilla, Palin secured more than $27 million in federal earmarks for a town with only 6,700 residents.
September 04, 2008
That's awfully white of you
While watching McCain's speech (did YOU know he served in Vietnam? Did you know that he was captured by the Vietnamese and was a war prisoner? Why didn't the Republicans mention that sooner?!?) I was overcome with a sense of The Strange.
You know The Strange... that feeling like you're in an old b&w episode of the Twilight Zone and Rod Serling is somewhere, hovering above, telling an audience "Picture a man...". Yeah, that one. I got that tonight when the camera panned over the audience and I first thought "WOW! That's the whitest group I've seen since that time I went to that mayonnaise festival". At first, I didn't think there were any minorities in the audience. Then I saw them... one Hispanic, four Asians and three Blacks. It was as if you'd taken a cookie sheet, covered it in vanilla ice cream and then carefully placed a few chocolate sprinkles so as to break the monotony and create the illusion of diversity.
I did catch Meg Whitman of EBay fame. And her thinning hair. Girl could totally do something about that alopecia. It's not like she didn't rape EBay shareholders for enough during her 'service' at the company.
McCain also spoke and it was... well, it was meh. Seriously, it was like milquetoast with a side of lame. Except for the heavy-duty description of his time in a Vietnamese POW camp. But, we've kinda been overwhelmed with that this week so even that didn't have the emotional impact it could have. He tried to go non-partisan but the reality is that he's an unquestionable partisan and so is his running mate, a fact which she made abundantly clear during minute after endlessly shrill minute of her speech last night.
The sad part is that he and his party are devoid of ideas. Cutting corporate taxes (which the corporations mostly don't pay, anyway) is a non-starter when the rich (and corporations) already got 90% of the benefit of the original tax cuts. Which McCain supports. As for the drilling, oil is priced in dollars and as the dollar has weakened (due to Republican deficits and trade deficits due to a weak economy) more of them are required to buy oil. Which drives up the price for you and me. Sure, there are supply issues but you're not going to solve them with drilling. Period. Only biofuels and alternatives are going to pull us out of this (and no, I'm not talking about corn ethanol and soya diesel... you CAN make biofuels out of many things). McCain doesn't have the knowledge base or intelligence to see that and it's really sad.
I don't know if it's calcification of the brain due to age or just that Republican unwillingness to see reality (which is apparently what afflicts Palin). Shall we recap Republican failure? Do we really need to discuss tax cuts that didn't grow wages and real employment, not to mention creating the deficits that only Democrats said would happen? Should we go back over inflation and poor fiscal management? Should we discuss the disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law? Maybe we should take a moment and remind you of the Veterans, returning from Iraq, who haven't been treated like Veterans SHOULD be treated. Democrats don't run VA or the DoD. That's Bush and Republican appointees.
The Democrats have been right all along. Every disaster. Every misstep. Every failure. They've nailed it. And this time, this election, the American people are ready for a change and they can't be fooled into thinking that Sen. McCain, with almost 30 years in Washington as part of the establishment, can bring anything other than more of the same.
The Icahn Speaketh
Carl Icahn, while a largely self-important douche, has been a tremendous advocate for shareholders vs. management especially on the subject of takeovers and management's attempts to avoid/enrich themselves from them. This entry on his blog is really very good...
Marty Lipton, the prominent Wachtell Lipton lawyer whom I have sparred with on numerous occasions, is no stranger to hyperbole about the "sanctity" of the corporate boardroom, but his latest comment about Anheuser-Busch is way over-the-top.
In a July 24 memo to clients (Corporate Governance Ratings Debunked), Lipton pointed out that the giant beermaker recently changed its bylaws to allow for yearly elections of directors, rather than every three years. As a result of this, the company was subjected to a hostile takeover by Belgian beermaker InBev, which was poised to run a proxy battle to get new directors elected to the board, asserts Lipton.
"Anheuser Busch is the latest US company to fall prey to a hostile takeover shortly after repealing its classified board in the name of adherence to best practices in corporate governance," Lipton said in the memo.
Unfortunately, Lipton has it all wrong in this classic anti-shareholder view. His opinion suggests that it is a good thing that the maker of Budweiser should be protected from takeovers to maintain the cozy "status quo" of its boardroom.
Fortunately, the directors of Anheuser Busch didn’t listen to Wachtell Lipton, but responded to shareholders who saw the InBev takeover as a positive thing – at the right price.
I've never agreed with Lipton's constant defense of management teams at the expense of shareholders and employees. Icahn is also not someone with whom I consistently agree, mostly because he traps himself in short term thinking and a desire to make large, instant profits. I'm more of a long term value guy. However, if my choice is Icahn vs. Lipton, I'll take Icahn every time.
And the InBev purchase of Anheuser Busch was a very good thing.
Scarborough and Buchanan laugh it up
It would seem that some of our friends on the right are just as incredulous over the Palin pick as we are...
Roundin' up the TPA
It's time for another weekly roundup of the Texas Progressive Alliance. Click on for the week's highlights.
With Tom DeLay and the TRMPAC indictments back in the news, Off the Kuff conducts an interview with Cris Feldman, one of the attorneys who won a civil judgment against TRMPAC for its violations of campaign finance law in the 2002 elections.
Neil at Texas Liberal is glad to note that the Galveston County Democrats Club http://texasliberal.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/galveston-county-democrats-club-is-working-hard-for-victory/ is, as always, working hard for all the people of Galveston County---Both on the mainland and on the island.
The Texas Cloverleaf reminds everyone that McCain is older than fiberglass. His new sidekick leads a state with a population smaller than Collin County. Sitcom indeed.
What is the linkage between radioactive waste dumps, smear ad campaigns and HD-52 Republican nominee Bryan Daniel? Dembones at Eye On Williamson follows the money trail back to Swift Boat financer, Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, whose latest smear campaign tries to link Barack Obama to '60s radical William Ayers.
Doing My Part For The Left's refinish69 wonders if Texas Deferred Adjudication is helpful or shameful.
North Texas Liberal has video of Sen. Hillary Clinton condemning John McCain's use of her picture and quotes in his ads.
BossKitty at TruthHugger observes "
Vince at Capitol Annex offers his opinion on Michael L. Williams' manipulation of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. concerning Barack Obama's experience. For added value, one of Williams' campaign staffers decided to comment on the post and attempt to defend his boss.
September 03, 2008
R's get their red meat moment
Tonight, Sarah Palin jumped her narrow, remarkably unqualified and corrupt ass into the ring and took swing after swing at her betters. Oh, and she took some time to defend the senile multi-millionaire (how many houses does he have?) with whom she shares the Republican ticket.
So much for a different kind of politics and a campaign about issues. Guess McCain lied about that just like he did about being a reformer. Don't get me wrong, I actually used to respect John McCain. At least I did until 2000 when he officially became George Bush's bitch, a point driven home tonight by the right wing nut job he picked to be his running mate. Denied his true choice, he was forced to select the shrill, nasty and exceedingly ambitious Palin by the very same right wing that treated him so shabbily in 2000.
But it was nice to see her with her baby prop. And to know the Republicans have decided to put themselves first and the country second. Of course, for Palin and McCain that's an easy choice... they've been selling out their families for years to further their own ambitions.
At the end, I'm left wondering... What else should I have expected from someone who squandered her state's resources, drove up taxes on the middle class and left her constituents in crushing debt?
You'd think that media professionals would know that there is no such thing as a dead mic.
But you would be wrong.
Cypress to shut down Fab 2
Cypress Semiconductor has decided to shut down Round Rock based Fab 2, the facility where it has produced semiconductors for more than 22 years. The shut down will result in the loss of more than 200 jobs...
The company informed the Workforce Commission that it will close the plant in four stages, eliminating 211 engineering, administrative and operator jobs. In the first stage, the company will cut 67 jobs between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11. Then it will cut 57 jobs between Nov. 10 and Nov. 23, followed by more job cuts between Dec. 8 and Dec. 21. The final 45 job reductions are planned to occur in early 2009.
Cypress said that the Round Rock plant used older manufacturing process technology to make less advanced chips.
"It is simply more cost-effective to shift manufacturing elsewhere than to retool Fab 2," said Shahin Sharifzadeh, the company's manufacturing vice president, last year.
One has to wonder if Cypress received any 'incentives' and how much Round Rock has benefited from them. As for me, good riddance Cypress. You're kind of a loser any way. While it hurts to let jobs go, hopefully Samsung or another company will pick them up. They seem to be doing well.
What a bunch of damn bullshit
You know, there a number of things I'd like to say about Palin and her 'reformer' image. But it's hard to call someone a reformer when their only true reform is to leave their constituents more in debt than they were prior to their 'service'. To the tune of $4,000 per resident in tiny Wasilla. See the extended for some good stuff on her tenure from someone who knows her. I think the phrase 'RANK INCOMPETENCE' pretty much sums it up.
Of course, there's the matter of the pregnant daughter. I knew girls that got pregnant in high school. Some of them graduated with me, some did not. Some of them had the kids and some did not for one reason or another. I never lost respect for them and I certainly won't say that this revelation has negatively effected my opinion of Palin. I had a negative opinion of her from HER actions, not those of her daughter. But, this pisses me off...
When Pam Younggren, 61, of Fargo, N.D., was told the news of the 17-year-old’s pregnancy, she shrugged. “Well, she wouldn’t be the first one,” she said.
“We can’t control what our daughters do,” she said. “I don’t see it as a problem. She will have appropriate care for her baby.”
And this one...
“People are looking for real,” he said in an interview. “Real means blemishes, real means warts, real means real. These family imperfections make people say, ‘That family isn’t so different from my family.’”
Uhm, they aren't like the rest of us. My parents kept rather strict controls over Barfly and I when we lived under their roof, so yeah... you can control your kids. It's called PARENTING. Palin did not. Period. My parents also made sure we KNEW the implications of intercourse and were prepared for it with appropriate protection. Palin did not. Now, even with these precautions, some kids end up being parents. My problem with this is that Palin willfully decided NOT to prepare her daughter with information and protection. That's not a knock on her daughter, that's her OWN very real character flaw. And it's one I would find unacceptable in any public official, Democratic or Republican. Especially one that's traveled far and wide preaching the wonders of abstinence only sex education, not to mention parental and personal responsibility.
What's most galling about this situation is that had this been the Democratic VP candidate, there would have been endless sermons and screeching rants from the far right (including some of the women quoted in the NYT piece) denouncing their family values and judgment, among other things. And calling them an unacceptable choice for America.
HOWEVER, I'm hearing quite the opposite from the folks in the bully pulpits of talk radio. And it's causing the words of Harry Truman, after reading McArthur's farewell address to Congress, to echo through my mind:
"It was nothing but a bunch of damn bullshit."
Beat up on Bristol? Not at all. But am I going to light into Palin EVERY TIME the phrase 'personal responsibility' leaves her lips? You betcha. Muse has a different take... she's a mother, she can go there. But her take on it dovetails nicely with the emails floating around from Wasilla residents. From them, it's pretty obvious that the only person who has benefited from Palin's service is Palin. It's certainly not her constituents, most of whom are decidedly worse off for her 'unbridled ambition'. Take a look in the supersize...
This email is floating around the 'sphere. I've received two other very similar accounts from different people.
ABOUT SARAH PALIN
I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a “babe”.
It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.
She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.
She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.
She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out
there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.
Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s
surplus, borrow for needs.
She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t
fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.
Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.
As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.
McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.
However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
CLAIM VS FACT
•”Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•”PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•”NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
•”Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
•”Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.
You're kidding, right?
The Republicans have been consistently wrong on health care and have paid a price for it at the polls. As premiums have dramatically increased, service and care has decreased. Tort reform has not made physician's lives easier, they've instead made insurance companies richer.
...John Goodman [is] president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort.
"The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.
"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved." (DMN)
Here's the problem with this... it's functionally taxpayer funded health care (which the R's claim is 'socialized medicine') which is way more expensive than other universal health care plans. Because you're employing the most expensive form of care, emergency. The second problem has two parts. With this, the bills are so expensive the counties will have to raise taxes to cover just PART of the cost. The rest of it falls to the patient who will, of course, usually be indigent. Which means they'll have collections and judgments on their credit reports which will keep them from, for example, buying a home.
If they happen to be unlucky enough to own a home... well, forced foreclosure is a horrible experience but I'm sure people will be OK with it when they realize that it helped the Republicans dodge a bullet.
The Republican Party, home to so many bad ideas you just can't believe it.
September 02, 2008
Reality and Charles Krauthammer
Charles Krauthammer is decidedly unimpressed with Sen. Obama. Which isn't surprising because they only person who impresses Charles Krauthammer is Charles Krauthammer. However, he's really stretching to be negative about Sen. Obama, to wit
The oddity of this convention is that its central figure is the ultimate self-made man, a dazzling mysterious Gatsby.
Of course, change Gatsby to Horatio Alger and you have the perfect sentence written by Charles Krauthammer about a Republican candidate. And the funny thing about it? Millions of Americans saw more substance out of Obama Thursday night than they've seen out of decades of McCain.
Always with the wrong guy...
According to some article at MSNBC, if you use that whore pill, it's probably making you think that the wrong guys are genetically compatible. This soooo totally explains Britney and K-Fed.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are involved in immune response and other functions, and the best mates are those that have different MHC smells than you. The new study reveals, however, that when women are on the pill they prefer guys with matching MHC odors.
And of course, it helps explain some of the shockingly bad choices Barfly has made over the years. Like this guy...
And this loser who accidentally shot my uncle when hunting a couple of years ago...
(h/t to Eileen from whom all funny whore related news comes)
Should the polar bear-hating extremist Sarah Palin actually become Vice President of the United States, she'll be joining a select group of holders of that office who supported the overthrow of the Federal Union.
No one is quite sure what Aaron Burr was up to when he headed into what Americans then knew as the Southwest in 1807, but is known that he was raising a private army and rumors swirled that he aimed at detaching part of the Louisiana Territory and establishing his own empire, perhaps with the aid of Spain. Arrested and tried, in the end there was not enough evidence to convict him of treason.
The case of Jackson's first veep, John C. Calhoun is much clearer. He developed the theory of "Nullification" which held that a state could decide which federal laws applied within its boundaries. He resigned the vice presidency and encouraged South Carolina to resist the federal tariff, resulting in the Nullification Crisis of the early 1830s... which was resolved peacefully when the Palmetto State backed down, the rest of the South unready to follow the path of secession and civil war.
When that war came three decades late, Buchanon's number two, John C. Breckinridge ignored the decision of his native Kentucky to remain loyal and joined the rebellion, raising troops and leading them in battle as a Confederate general. By 1865 he was serving in the rebel government as Secretary of War; with war's end he fled into exile, returning only after receiving a pardon in 1869.
And now we are learning, thanks to reseach on Daily Kos, now picked up at ABC News that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a fringe political group whose founder planned to seek Soviet protection for an secessionist Alaska and whose grave is in Canada because he refused to be buried under the American flag. What are her views today? Could she honestly swear to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States"? Did she undertake her hazardous twelve-hour flight back from Texas a few months ago to avoid giving birth to her son on anything but Alaskan soil? Why the friendly greetings and hopes for a "successful convention" from the governor to her old comrades in the AIP in this video?
For too long Democrats and progressives have had their patriotism questioned by a gang that has destroyed our economy, shredded our Constitutional rights and lied us into an unnecessary war. Well, the mukluk's on the other foot now. Sarah Palin, why do you hate America?
September 01, 2008
Breaking: Fox News Reports Hindenburg Has "Bumpy Landing"
Sister Ruth observed that John McCain thought he was picking a running mate, not an entire Lifetime movie.
More on Dick In A Box
A MAILBOX, that is. Apparently, there's more to this Frank Corte 'lives' on an empty lot, thing. From an anonymous source...
Thought you should know that he moved out in October 2006, before his previous election, when he and his wife had their house moved to a new lot outside the city limits. He then got a permit from the city to build a two-story house on the old lot. But that permit expired in January 2007, and there have been no new requests for any building permits since then. Meanwhile, his wife has renewed her driver’s license using her new address, the apartment outside the district. Hence, Corte is not only ineligible to serve now but has been ineligible to serve for at least the past two years. And though it’s too late to remove his name from this November’s ballot, it’s not too late to have him declared ineligible thus handing the election to his Democratic challenger, Fran Carnot. (There is also a Libertarian in the race, Sally Gayton.)
So what happens now? Will Frank do the right thing or will the courts have to step in?