Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Plan for Economic Rescue

This plan is from the Progressives in Congress. Looks pretty good. What a relief.



DRAFT

No BAILOUTS Act

Bringing Accounting, Increased Liquidity, Oversight and Upholding Taxpayer Security

1. Require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require an economic value standard to measure the capital of financial institutions.
This bill will require SEC to implement a rule to suspend the application of fair value accounting standards to financial institutions, which marks assets to the market value, no matter the conditions of the market. When no meaningful market exists, as is the current market for mortgage backed securities, this standard requires institutions to value assets at fire-sale prices. This creates a capital shortfall on paper. Using the economic value standard as bank examines have traditionally done will immediately correct the capital shortfalls experienced by many institutions.

2. Require the Securities and Exchange Commission to restricting naked short sells permanently
This bill will require SEC to implement a rule that blocks naked selling, selling a stock short without first borrowing the shares or ensuring the shares can be borrowed. Such practices many times harm the companies represented in the sales and hurt their efforts to raise capital. There is no economic value produced by naked short sales, but significant negative effects.

3. Require the Securities and Exchange Commission to restore the up-tick rule permanently.
This bill will require SEC to implement a rule that blocks short sales without an up-tick in the market. On September 19, 2008, the SEC approved a temporary pause of short selling in financial companies "to protect the integrity and quality of the securities market and strengthen investor confidence." This rule prevents market crashes brought on by irrational short term market behavior.

4. "Net Worth Certificate Program"
This bill will require FDIC to implement a net worth certificate program. The FDIC would determine banks with short-term capital needs and the ability to financially recover in the foreseeable future. For those entities that qualify, the FDIC should purchase net worth certificates in these institutions. In exchange, these institutions issue promissory notes to repay the FDIC, counting the amount "borrowed" as capital on their balance sheets. This exchange provides short term capital, with not cash outlay. Interest rates on the certificates and the FDIC notes should be identical so no subsidy is necessary.

Participating banks must be subject to strict oversight by the FDIC including oversight of top executive compensation and if necessary the removal of poor management. Financial records and business plans should be subject to scrutiny while participating in the program.

In 1982, Congress approved a program, known as the Net Worth Certificate Program, that allowed banks and thrifts to apply for immediate capital assistance. From 1982 to 1993, banks with total assets of $40 billion participated in the program. The majority of these banks, 75%, required no further assistance beyond the certificate program.

5. Increase the FDIC Insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000.
The bill will require the FDIC raise its limit to provide depositors confidence that their money is safe and help eliminate runs on banks which are destabilizing to the industry.

New Blue is North Carolina

North Carolina's is in the toss up category, Obama and Hagan now lead. Kay Hagan (D) who is challenging NRSC leader, Elizabeth Dole (R), is up by 8 points in the latest PPP poll. These numbers are great for Hagan, just dreadful for Dole. Below 40 for Dole, who heads the NRSC, is laughable.
From PPP

Kay Hagan 46
Elizabeth Dole 38
Christopher Cole 6



Latest Presidential from PPP:
Obama 47
McCain 45


This race is neck and neck. Many Chattanoogans are headed to help out in North Carolina over the next 5 weeks - yes only 35 days to go. If you cannot head out, then help out financially to Kay Hagan or Barack Obama. Oh, did I mention I know all about North Carolina because I can see it from my living room window?

My friend, Julie, went to the Obama/ Biden rally in Greensboro over the weekend. She is a mother of a special needs son just like Sarah Palin and me. Here's what she wrote and a photo of the event:

I made myself a campaign button that reads "Parent of Special Needs Children
for Obama" and wore it to the Obama Biden rally in Greensboro on Saturday
and got quite a few comments. It was great to see both candidates in person
and to feel the reaction in the crowd. There were about 20,000 people
there.

Remember when Senator Phil Gramm said that "Special Education is not a
Republican issue"
when Sen. Jim Jeffords was pushing for full funding for
IDEA? (Jeffords left the Republican party and became an Independent). Yes,
he's partially right! Special Education is a human issue!

Obama, Biden in Greensboro, NC.


Bravo to Julie and her family. Thanks for pointing out this tidbit from Sen. Phil Gramm, who is McCain's top economic advisor, and known for calling us a "nation of whiners".

Monday, September 29, 2008

Electoral vote projection: Obama 325.5, McCain 212.5

Gasp! Fivethirtyeight.com shows Obama with over 100 point lead over McCain. 538 collects and analyzes all the polls and trends for many races. It is a reliable and respectable site.

What will the Stunt Man do next in order to get his campaign back on track?

WaPo reports:


... the campaign will press two arguments as forcefully as possible in the coming days. One is that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief and that, in a time of two wars, "his policies will make the world more dangerous and America less secure." Second, he said, McCain will argue that, in a time of economic crisis, Obama will raise taxes and spending and "will make our economy worse."


Good luck with that one, John McCain. After last week's drama by the McCain camp, he showed himself to be unstable in times of crisis. As for raising taxes and spending, who is going to pay for the Iraq war's trillion dollar tab and the Wall Street crisis? That would be our children and grandchildren under McCain's politicking plan. This plan would continue our debt and drive the dollar even weaker. It is another McCain disaster. Unless McCain comes up with an original October surprise, I think the projection is looking good for Obama.

Happy Monday everyone.

Let your voice be heard.

Isn't it great to read the LTE's these days? This is an excellent letter to the editor from our dear friend, Ed Robbins:
Many thanks to the Times for their September 25 editorial "Government is the Solution." The Republicans have a great deal to answer for the ongoing crisis plaguing our nation's financial system.

Policy myopia does not begin to describe the poor decisions that have been made in finance and a broad spectrum of issues that have faced this nation over the past eight years. Where is the broad stimulus promised by the Bush tax cuts? Where is the safety promised by intervention in Iraq? The Bush tax cuts are now in the pockets of the very rich while the free world continues to live in fear of terrorism.

Upon George W. Bush's inauguration in 2000, the Republicans gutted many of the forward thinking policy initiatives on the American agenda and have summarily erased decades of progress in domestic and foreign policy to create short term growth. The result? Soaring gas prices, diminishing prestige abroad, increasing national debt and virtual failure of our financial markets. It is time to rebuild our nation, and discontinue the policies of profiteers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Funny and horrifying: SNL skit on Palin & Couric

Much of the skit is from actual transcripts of what Sarah Palin said in her interview on SNL with Katie Couric. Before you laugh too hard, remember, she will be one heartbeat away from the Presidency, if McCain wins. The odds for her to become President are significant, if McCain wins. Sorry to bum you out, but' cha know.... just saying.

 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

38 Days To Go

“John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly, that’s just me opposing George Bush’s wrongheaded policies since I’ve been in Congress.”

One of my favorite one liners from Obama last night.

Did you enjoy the debate last night? We went to a debate party last night and this was a real treat. Before the debate, the hosts played the horrendous Sarah Palin/ Katie Couric interview, everyone got to see how inept and ignorant Sarah is. It is scary to imagine her in charge of our nation. I think she will be the frightening halloween costume this year.

A couple of things stand out:

McCain refused to make eye contact with Obama, his body language seemed contemptuous and defensive. He came across as a mean old man, which he is. At Talking Points Memo they weigh in on this:



I think people really are missing the point about McCain's failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear--look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior--low ranking monkeys don't look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.


Makes sense to me. McCain is just a lowly little monkey. Btw, it is verified the man works at a university in animal behavior.

here is more:


As a psychotherapist and someone who treats people with anger management problems, we typically try to educate people that anger is often an emotion that masks other emotions. I think it's significant that McCain didn't make much, if any, eye contact because it suggests one of two things to me; he doesn't want to make eye contact because he is prone to losing control of his emotions if he deals directly with the other person, or, his anger masks fear and the eye contact may increase or substantiate the fear.
I noticed him doing the same thing in the Republican primary debates. The perception observers are likely to have is that he is unwilling to acknowledge the opponent's legitimacy and/or is contemptuous of the opponent.



Enjoy the weekend. Only one more week to register voters. GOTV.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Who needs the left wing when you have NRO?

Here is another dig to McCain from the right wing National Review's Corner. Pile this on with the Kathryn Parker and George Will diatribes and things are looking even better for Obama.


A Hostile Audience [Rich Lowry]
One side effect of McCain's debate gambit is, I'm told, that everyone at Ole Miss now hates him. It will make for a very hostile audience tonight among those students and faculty attending. He might have to apologize for creating the uncertainty or make some explanation up front, which is never ideal.

Gosh. I wish someone would have given John McCain this memo earlier because he has already claimed victory.

George Will blasts McCain

Oh this is getting fun. A reader sent this to me:

From Conservative Writer, George Will, for the Washington Post:

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Ouch! Later, Will writes:

In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning. Today, his campaign is creatively finding interstices in laws intended to restrict campaign giving and spending. (For details, see The Post of Sept. 17; and the New York Times of Sept. 19.)
Ouch. Ouch.
Will rails some more about McCain. It's a fun read, although I don't agree with either one of them. Final sentence, I do like:


It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?


Let me rephrase this: Can a senile, old curmudgeon suddenly turn into a young, smart, energetic man?

NRO says Palin should exit the race

No kidding. National Review Online writer Katherine Parker has grown weary of the vacant minded, hockey mom from Wasilla. Parker notes with the uncertain economy and unstable foreign policy, experience is now important, Sarah doesn't seem qualified. You think, Katherine? Identity politics might not be enough for the Vice Presidency, especially McCain's Vice Presidency. McCain has had 4 bouts with melanoma, seems to suffer from dementia and looks much older than his old age of 72; perhaps, we should be alarmed about someone so uninformed, unintelligent, and unexperienced.
Parker wrote:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

snip


What to do?
McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.
Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.
Do it for your country.


Agree. Get out - country first!

Bailout hits home: VW may delay plant

Yesterday, Sen. Lamar Alexander put it succinctly of what is at stake with the bailout crisis Times Free Press:

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said he was told by executives at the recent opening of Volkswagen AG’s new American headquarters in Virginia last week that the German automaker’s credit branch is having trouble securing the $300 million it borrows each month to make car loans.

If that credit crunch gets worse, it could affect VW’s plans to build cars at a new plant in Chattanooga, Alexander said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Washington.

“If a company the size and prestige of Volkswagen can’t get the money to make car loans, then I can’t buy a car,” Alexander said. “And if I can’t buy a Volkswagen, they’re not going to be making any in Chattanooga, and people aren’t going to have jobs.”


Yesterday afternoon, a bailout deal was almost reached, but House Republicans would not go along with it. Senator Corker issued this statement, from the Knox News:
Corker, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said the plan negotiated in a three-hour meeting Thursday includes “greater oversight, taxpayer protections, and restrictions on executive compensation.”

“We are dealing with rapidly deteriorating conditions in our credit and lending markets. As I’ve said throughout the week, this crisis makes little distinction between Wall Street and Main Street,” Corker said in a news release.

“Every single one of us is affected hugely by the credit markets, whether it is in our money market accounts, our retirement and savings, our ability to borrow money or cash a paycheck, or the contraction of our economy,” Corker added.



Wamp told the Knoxville Sentinel, he was praying for an answer:


Wamp said he won’t make up his mind until he sees the details, but either way, “I’m just sick having to vote on it … I am literally in prayer about it.”

Government intervention in the private sector goes against his core beliefs, but he fears doing nothing could cost Tennessee jobs and rob workers of retirement benefits.


Just 24 hours before, Wamp capitalized on the bailout brouhaha to The Hill:

The administration does not have the credibility to convince Main Street,” Wamp said.

“Politically it’s like nitroglycerin to [the party] that takes ownership of it.”


So, the GOP House is the only one not on board. Both Republican and Democratic Senate, the Democratic House and the Treasury have worked out a plan with oversight and taxpayer protection. I think Americans need to hear more about this plan and how it affects all of us, not just Wall Street and the foreign banks.

We will see how today goes with the credit and stock markets.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bush Market and Your ROI

This puts it all into perspective on how much of a drain Bush has been to the middle class. A reader submitted this to me:

For those of you with IRA's, 401k's, 403b's and other instruments with investments in the stock market"

On G.W. Bush's first full day in office, January 19, 2001, the Dow Jones Industrial average was 10,537 points. Today, September 24, 2008, at the close of the day the Dow Jones was 10,825, which means the average return on a Dow-based investment during the Bush tenure has been 1%/year. Historically, the Dow Jones has gained about 10%/year, and had the Dow maintained that rate it should be about 22,800 points today.

Put this another way, if you made an investment of $10,000 in a basket of Dow stocks on the day G.W. Bush took office, on the average its value today would be about $10,800. But, if there had been average investment conditions,the value would be $21,500. The comparison would be even worse if inflation or the devaluation of the dollar against other currencies were taken into account.

Before G.W. Bush, there were budget surpluses and the possibility of eliminating the National debt. The financial markets had been strong during the Clinton years. However the combination of tax cuts and increased budget outlays by during the G.W. Bush administration changed the investment picture.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What changed are McCain's poll numbers

Just last Monday, hours after Lehman fell and Merrill Lynch was sold, John McCain stood firm and said "The fundamentals of the economy remain strong." Hours later, AIG reported it was facing catastrophe from its derivative departments. A week later, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are no longer investment banks but rather commercial banks.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson threatened Americans with a trillion dollar bailout plan for his Wall Street cronies and foreign banks. John McCain campaigned in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Paulson's Shock Doctrine plan did not go as well as expected. Both, yesterday and today, he has faced harsh questioning from the Senate and Congress. Tonight, W is expected to address the nation. This should bring one last good laugh for the country, and, make apparent why we don't need another Bush Third Term with McCain.

This afternoon, John McCain announced he was suspending his campaign and hopes to delay the debate. Here is the reaction to this:
Statement from Senator Harry Reid:


"This is a critical time for our country. While I appreciate that both candidates have signaled their willingness to help, Congress and the Administration have a process in place to reach a solution to this unprecedented financial crisis.
"I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama's suggestion. But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation's economy. If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.

"If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now."


And from Ben Smith at Politico


...in terms of the timing of this move: The only thing that's changed in the last 48 hours is the public polling.


Agree. This is a time for serious discussion and solutions from both candidates. The debate should go on.
Oh and how about those poll numbers.

From Talking Points Memo



Pres '08
Sep 24 Fox NewsObama (D) 45%, McCain (R) 39%
Bush
Sep 24 Fox NewsApprove 26%, Disapprove 66%
Congress
Sep 24 Fox NewsApprove 17%, Disapprove 73%
Pres '08
Sep 24 GallupObama (D) 47%, McCain (R) 44%
NH-Pres
Sep 24 RasmussenMcCain (R) 49%, Obama (D) 47%
HI-Pres
Sep 24 RasmussenObama (D) 68%, McCain (R) 27%
NH-Pres
Sep 24 MaristObama (D) 51%, McCain (R) 45%
IA-Pres
Sep 24 MaristObama (D) 51%, McCain (R) 41%
Pres '08
Sep 23 Hotline/DiageoObama (D) 48%, McCain (R) 42%
Congress
Sep 23 Hotline/DiageoDemocrats 45%, Republicans 34%
Bush
Sep 23 Hotline/DiageoApprove 29%, Disapprove 68%
VA-Pres
Sep 24 Mason-DixonMcCain (R) 47%, Obama (D) 44%
VA-SEN
Sep 24 Mason-DixonWarner (D) 61%, Gilmore (R) 28%
Congress
Sep 24 Res. 2000Democrats 49%, Republicans 43%
Pres '08
Sep 24 ABC/WaPoObama (D) 52%, McCain (R) 43%
Pres '08
Sep 24 RasmussenObama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 47%
Pres '08
Sep 24 Res. 2000Obama (D) 48%, McCain (R) 44%

Goldmine Sachs under Paulson's leadership

There is a reason I am not comfortable giving a trillion dollar check to this man with no strings attached:

From the Independent:

In 2005, the average Goldman Sachs employee earned $521,000. and that included secretaries:


Last year, Goldman Sachs paid out $11.7bn (£6.7bn) to its 22,425 employees - around 3,000 of whom are in London. Hank Paulson, the chairman and chief executive, was paid $38m in salary, shares and options - a 21 per cent increase on 2004. An average figure per staff member of $521,000 bursts through a barrier not even breached during the dot-com boom in 1999 and 2000.
This is a 12 per cent increase on the $466,000 average disclosed for 2004. It is twice the level of average pay at rivals Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trail of Tears site gets more funding

Good news. Congressman Zach Wamp just gave us a reason to feel hopeful for something today:



September 22 – The House of Representatives passed the Trail of Tears Documentation Act on Monday, a bill introduced by Congressman Zach Wamp that doubles the current Trail of Tears. These added routes were previously undocumented arteries by which the Cherokee were forced out of their ancestral homelands. Through further research and study of military journals, newspaper accounts and vouchers, historians have been able to document the primary routes.

“The Cherokee removal is only one tribe’s story of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, but it is the most visible in American history. It is not just an Arkansas and Oklahoma story; it started in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama,” said Congressman Wamp. “These distinct routes and campgrounds proposed in the Trail of Tears Documentation Act more fully reflect this tragic saga of a proud people’s forced removal.”

The Trail of Tears Documentation Act calls for the Benge and Bell routes along with associated components to become part of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The detachments led by John Benge traveled 734 miles starting at Fort Payne, Alabama, continuing through Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Treaty Party Group led by John Bell traveled 765 miles starting at Charleston, Tennessee, crossing west over Moccasin Bend and traveling through Arkansas. It was the only one of the 17 detachments that did not disband in Oklahoma. There are 29 forts and emigration depots concentrated around Fort Payne, Alabama; Ross’s Landing - present day Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Fort Cass - present day Charleston, Tennessee, where the Cherokee initially were taken after being rounded up from their homes for the long journey west.



I am grateful for this. The exile and genocide of the Cherokee Nation was a part of our American history that cannot be erased. It happened. It was shameful. Hopefully, we learned from it and are a better society today. Thank you to Zach Wamp for remembering and funding this important part or our Nation's history.

White House tries to appease Wall Street

From today's White House Press Conference:

This so-called bail-out is about giving money away to successful and responsible firms. In other words, just making Wall Street richer so it doesn't have to face any financial hardships for their bad decisions.



Q I'd just like to ask you to follow up on one of the earlier answers that you gave. You indicated broad support for the idea of oversight and transparency. Do you have firm opposition to the idea of any curbs of executive pay, on executive pay of companies that are helped under this plan? And why is it important that it's this week that the legislation get passed? After all, Congress is likely to go on sitting next week, as well. Why is it so important that it should be this week?

MR. FRATTO: Well, I mean, in terms of this week, it shouldn't take much of analysis to remember what happened last week, which was a very serious freeze-up in our credit markets. So this is a present concern and it's something that needs to be dealt with urgently and quickly. As I said earlier, what our -- our financial markets right now do not need uncertainty; they need increased certainty as to how this rescue plan is going to go forward and that they can be sure that there is a plan to go forward and that will begin the correction in our financial markets. So we do need to get it done quickly and urgently and would oppose efforts to delay it.

With respect to executive pay, again, I'm not going to get into specific, point-by-point details on what our views are on that, other than the Secretary of Treasury said it would make more difficult to make this plan work and effective if you provide disincentives for companies and firms out there who are holding mortgage-backed securities and other securities from participating in the program. You have to remember, these are not all weak or troubled firms that own mortgage-backed securities. A lot of them are very successful banks and investment houses that have done very well, have been responsible, are holding performing assets that have value. They were not necessarily irresponsible players, and so you have to be careful about how you deal with them.


Questions for the White House? If they are so successful and responsible, why does the taxpayer have to bail them out?
Isn't the White House suppose to represent the American people first? I haven't seen Bush ever do this, but this is the most blatant appeasement to corporate interests I can ever recall.

Why would Bush want his legacy to be he doomed the American middle-class and economy? Oh yeah, his interests are placating Wall Street, not the American people.

This is absolutely crazy and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Rovian style ads for Democrats

This is fun, from 23/6



If Democrats don't start playing politics the Karl Rove way, they will be running against a sitting President, Sarah Palin, four years from now. It's time for the Dems to do to McCain what the GOP did to Kerry- trash his military service:



Just "trust me" isn't going to work this time.

So Paulson and Bush are demanding Congress shut up and sign over a Trillion dollars to bail out Wall Street and foreign banks. Huh? Why would we ever do that? As Bob Herbert of NYT wrote today:


Does anyone think it’s just a little weird to be stampeded into a $700 billion solution to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression by the very people who brought us the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?


The plan which requests taxpayer dollars to the tune of a trillion dollars included this overreaching statement:
Section 8 (yes, they are even being snarky by calling it this):
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.


What arrogance on Paulson's part. He should be down on his knees begging but I guess that is beneath his dignity. What isn't beneath his dignity is demanding taxpayers pay for Wall Streets' bad debt and poor decisions. Paulson took his haughty attitude to Congress over the weekend and met with Senator Bob Corker and other members of the Senate Banking Committee.
From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Sen. Corker said he is most troubled by the fact that Mr. Paulson intends for the government to purchase the distressed debt at prices above market value to give financial institutions better footing, which could leave taxpayers on the money-losing end of the deal. He said he suggested to Mr. Paulson that a third-party entity be created to provide oversight of the transactions, but he was met with resistance.

“There are major questions about whether the entire engineering of our financial system should be left to one man with total leeway to deal with this,” Sen. Corker said. “Compound that with the fact that Secretary Paulson likely will not be here (after a new presidential administration is inaugurated) in January 2009 — that is very troubling.”


I may not agree with Sen. Corker on many of his votes, but I do know, Senator Corker is a tough businessman. Corker will demand scrutiny, accountability and answers to the questions. Let's hope he continues to oppose the final Bush/ Paulson saga of the Shock Doctrine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Early Voting Starts Today in Georgia

Excitement is in the air. Georgia began early voting today. Call election commission to find out where to vote, one can vote either in person or absentee.

From 11 Alive.com Georgia has already registered over 100,000 new voters this year. Cut off for registering to vote in Georgia is October 6th.

Go Obama.

What about the Free Market, Wall Street?

"There are no athiests in foxholes, and no libertarians in financial crisis."

The last eight years have seen a push from Wall Street and the financial sector for deregulation. The Wall Street lobbyist, folks like Phil Gramm, slipped amendments to prevent government regulation and let the market guide itself. This led to a financial disaster. Now, here they are facing huge losses from their fraudulent decisions and they want the American tax payer to pick up their whopping tab.

Worse yet, the banks are still lobbying, and over the weekend we found out foreign banks like UBS, (the one Phil Gramm works for) want the American taxpayer to pick up their losses too. What a bunch of whiners the Wall Street folks are.

And it even gets worse, they want the bailout and blank check without any strings attached. Can you believe it? This is no small check, this is the biggest bailout of all time, $700 billion dollars and no strings attached. They have already shown they cannot accept self regulation and free -market ideals when the market downturns. These losses are theirs, not ours.

No way, No how, No check, No McCain, No Gramm and No Paulson. Phil Gramm is McCain's top economic advisor and his pick for Treasury Secretary. Bush's last hurrah is for Americans to end up just like 1931.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Virginia has Early Voting Underway

Wow. Virginia is a definite toss-up state. The poll site extraordinaire 538 gives a 0.9% victory for Obama. As of today, 9-20-2008, Obama is projected with a win of 49.9 to 49. for McCain. This is a very fluid situation and the MOE is a whopping +/- 6.1 points. However, the projection already took that into consideration. For more detail on Virginia, visit the site highlighted and underlined above. The site compiles all the major pollsters and gives an analysis for each state. Be warned, it doesn't always trend Obama, somedays it is fun to look at 538, other times it makes me sick.

One thing is for certain, we will be keeping track on Virginia's voter turn-out. Record turnout in early voting plays well for those who work, minorities, college students... in other words, everybody who doesn't look like McCain.

I will keep you posted on Virginia for the next six weeks. One thing we know: as Virginia goes, so goes the nation.

GOTV day

I will be registering voters this afternoon during the UT , FU game. Check out these great new numbers of new registrants in Hamilton County and TN.

Hamilton County is registering over 100 new voters each day. Strong GOTV organization in place by the Obama team. Yeah. These numbers will help Obama and Bob Tuke.

An important message from Obama coordinator (and Signal Mountain's own) Justin Wilkins:



Tennessee Voter Surge
300,000 new registered voters in the State of Tennessee from June 2004 – June 2008
164,000 new voters in Tennessee this year (2008)
2,500 new voters in Hamilton County since May 10th from you all!
600 new voters in Hamilton County in the last 5 days from you all!

Recent Elections Have Been Close – Every Vote Counts
’06 Election:Ford – 879,976 Corker – 929,911
’04 Election:Kerry – 1,036,477 Bush-1,384,375
’02 Election:Bredesen – 837,284 Hilleary – 786,803
’00 Election:Gore – 981,720 Bush -1,061,949


P.S. Just got my sign up on at our home and vacant lot. The sign on the lot was stolen by the next morning, less than 12 hours it stayed up. I replaced it, though. I put Karo-syrup around the rim of the sign so whoever does it again will have some sticky fingers (hopefully with ants).

Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain's Economic Advisor created the Wall Street Catastrophe

Yes, Ma'am. Let's name names and point fingers on who is responsible for the collapse of Lehman, Bear Stearns, FNMA/ FHMC, AIG and Merrill Lynch. The name is Phil Gramm. A former Senator from Texas and Top Economic Advisor to John McCain. Gramm is also known for the infamous "Enron Loophole" which gave deregulation and lax oversight for Enron's energy trading.

Last month, McCain tried to distance himself from Gramm, after Gramm embarrassed the Republican nominee over an arrogant and mean comment. Gramm called Americans, who are hurting from Gramm's disastrous policies, a 'Nation of Whiners" and they are suffering from a "mental recession". How's that for straight talk from the McCain campaign?

This morning's Real Clear Politics has an article by Froma Harrop. She states:



McCain's former economic adviser is ex-Texas Sen. Phil Gramm. On Dec. 15, 2000, hours before Congress was to leave for Christmas recess, Gramm had a 262-page amendment slipped into the appropriations bill. It forbade federal agencies to regulate the financial derivatives that greased the skids for passing along risky mortgage-backed securities to investors.

And that, my friends, is why everything's falling apart. That is why the taxpayers are now on the hook for the follies of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns and now the insurance giant AIG to the tune of $85 billion.


Did you get that? They slipped this disastrous amendment into an appropriations bill at the final hour. This is downright devious. The AIG losses are in the derivative department. All of this mess falls squarely on Senator Phil Gramm and his Republican cronies in the Senate who allowed this to happen.

McCain remains clueless. Earlier this week, right after Leamon and Merrill Lynch's collapse, McCain stated " The fundamentals of our economy remain strong". Heh. In all fairness, what do you expect from a man who doesn't even know how many homes he owns? It wouldn't matter to me if it did not impact me, but it does. McCain and Gramm should not be trusted to govern our country. They have created enough of a disaster for our economy, as well as, the global economy. Now, we the taxpayers, have to bail out the greedy, incompetent and reckless bankers.

Remember capitalism is for the masses, socialism is for Wall Street and the corporations.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is the difference between Bush and Palin?

Lipstick.

Muy loco comment from McCain

Evidently McCain, you know the one with all the experience, doesn't know Spain is in Europe. His comments on a Miami radio show yesterday seem to suggest he thinks it is part of Latin America. A scary, senior moment or is he this stupid? Either way, it isn't good.

Enjoy. Hasta la vista, muy amigo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's not change we can believe in, my friends.

Daily Show reminds us about McCain's change.

Maureen Dowd weighs in on Carly & McCain

Today's New York Times:


Carly Fiorina, the woman John McCain sent out to defend Sarah Palin and rip anyone who calls her a tabula rasa on foreign policy and the economy, admitted Tuesday that Palin was not capable of running Hewlett-Packard.

That’s pretty damning coming from Fiorina, who also was not capable of running Hewlett-Packard.


Heh. Touche.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gee, I agree with David Brooks: Why Experience Matters

I never thought I would see the day when this would happen. From the New York Times today, it seems Brooks isn't comfortable with the Palin pick, either. Here are some highlights from his column today:



Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president? Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready.

snip

Look at the condescension and snobbery oozing from elite quarters, her backers say. Look at the endless string of vicious, one-sided attacks in the news media. This is what elites produce. This is why regular people need to take control.

And there’s a serious argument here. In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that the nation’s founders wanted uncertified citizens to hold the highest offices in the land. They did not believe in a separate class of professional executives. They wanted rough and rooted people like Palin.

I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.


snip



If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.



One thing Conservatives and Liberals can all agree on: we don't need a third term George W. Bush.

Easy, healthy, and delicious: Corn on the Cob

Completion time: 3-4 minutes per serving

You will need: 1 ear per person - Peaches and Cream is out now, mmm... delicious

Stick unhusked corn in microwave for 3 -4 minutes (depends on microwave). Turn on high power.

Corn cooks in the husks and is moist and good tasting. Just season and serve.

This recipe came to me from the great little shop Secret Garden. Sad to say, she closed her business this summer. :(

The Aftermath of Ike

My parents and brother's family are all doing well. They, along with a million other Houstonians, are without power. Houston's downtown, the 'biznez' district, never did lose power, even during the worst of Ike.

In Houston, people get to chose which energy company they would like. There are three to chose from: Centerpoint, TNPC and Entergy. According to the Houston Chronicle the outages are:
Centerpoint has 69.9%
TNMP - 58%
Entergy 97.7%


Four days after the hurricane and Entergy is still "assessing the situation". Hmmm.... do they not have the money to handle an emergency? What would happen if they went bankrupt? How long are people expected to wait while they make assessments? Isn't it time we bring back more regulations to protect consumers?

Assessing the situation is not acceptable for those living like Pioneers in the Ole West. Gov. Perry needs to intervene on behalf of his constituents even if it means upsetting his corporate donor pals.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike from the Space Station

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Hey, let's sit a spell

and chat. This is your place for the southern, progressive voice. We can talk about all sorts of things from black-eyed peas to bluegrass music to Barack Obama. If you live in a deep red place, this is is your blue sanctuary. Welcome to my southern blue blog.

Hurricane Ike

I don't like Ike. This powerful hurricane with cat -2 winds and cat-5 storm surge is headed right towards Galveston then onward to Houston. Ike's effects and flooding are being felt over in New Orleans .

Thank God the media isn't talking about stupid Sarah Palin anymore. Spinning for the RNC, MSNBC is talking about the great job 'the government is doing' before Ike has arrived. We shall see. Ike will be at its worst between midnight and 8 am, the media won't be capturing the disaster on camera. Instead, MSNBC crew will be in their upper floor in a Hilton room at Clear Lake. In the morning, we will get a better picture of Ike's wrath and a shaken up MSNBC crew.

I worry about the impact on the folk's in Texas. I worry about the leakage from the many toxic dumps ( Chemical and Petroleum Corporations) on the environment. I worry about my own kin folks who live in Houston. I don't give a damn about the 'great job Rick Perry and Michael Chertoff think they are doing".