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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wall Street's welfare continues

Krugman on the Geithner's new plan: "What an awful mess."

Geithner's plan is full of clever all in the name of saving his buddies the trouble of going under. People gambled. They lost. We pay. Wall Street's wonder boy is in denial. He (and, the entire financial services industry) needs therapy. It would be cheaper.

Meme has more.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too much stupid

After seeing today's NY Post cover: "O Yuks it up on Leno as economy burns," I'm thinking I need to stop paying attention to politics. Though, having a political blog makes that a bit tough.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meet the Press: same as it ever was

Newsday's TV Reporter, Verne Gay, thinks Meet the Press "is now the de facto safe show on Sunday morning" since David Gregory took over. Really?
The problem? Actually, problems. The new moderator often seems like he's wearing a suit made for someone else - Russert - and as a result has yet to clearly establish why he got this gig instead of anyone else in the conga line of potential successors. Gregory is terrifically polished, well-informed, a good listener and has the talking points of both sides down cold. But he also seems more intent on covering the waterfront than digging for news, or in pushing the talking heads off their talking points.
I agree with Verne, "pushing people off their talking points" is not a Gregory strong suit, but, then again, I don't recall Russert knocking many people off theirs either.

Just ask Dick Cheney.

Quote of the Day

"I see Coach K is now concern trolling Obama regarding his bracket picks. All this 'focus on the economy' stuff is killing me. To listen to folks, all Obama needs to do is get in a quiet room, concentrate real hard, and the economy will be fixed!" -- John Cole


That's the number of continuing unemployment claims in millions as reported by the Labor Department today. That is a record high and more than most expected. A year ago the number of people on the dole was only 2.85 million. The numbers show finding new work is hard but, I guess, if you're looking for a bright side, the number of new jobless claims fell a bit more than expected. Yay (or something).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The GOP: against regulating pay before they were for it

I can't defend the Obama administration too much over the AIG bonus fiasco (their blaming of Chris Dodd has started an avalanche that is just unacceptable). However, it's good to see that the president today took a shot at the hypocrisy coming from the GOP on all this. Greg Sargent:
In an apparent shot at GOPers who are blasting the bonuses, Obama said that there are "a whole bunch of folks now feigning outrage" that a year or two ago would have said "we should never meddle" in the private sector.
ThinkProgress runs down the flip-flopping Republicans here.

Blue dogs in the Senate

Putting aside the matter that Evan Bayh refuses to out some of his Senate colleagues who are joining his new "moderate" coalition in the Senate, what really disturbs me is that upon hearing the news of such a moderate collation Joe Scarborough calls it "great." If an intellectually dishonest conservative like Joe is on board we know were in for a mess of watered down, ineffectual, status quo loving, center-right legislation. Moderation for moderation's sake may be good politics for some, but it makes for crappy legislation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fake populism

Besides being idiots, what do Rick Santelli, Glen Beck, and Rush Limbaugh have in common? They say they care about the little guy, but really they care only about the little guy who pulls in a seven figure income. Too many people in this country consume their media just like they vote. That is, against their own interests.


That's the percentage of Americans that favor "a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers." Not surprisingly, 70% of Democrats support the right to organize, while 60% of Republicans say no way. I guess those Republicans don't realize that it was a strong middle class, largely built upon union jobs, that created this country. A country whose people they seem to despise.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nationalize AIG

I hate to say it, but I think Josh Mashall is right here:
Like you, I've been watching this AIG bonus story unfold over the weekend. And though I did not see it at first, I think it may prove to be a turning point, both for AIG and the government.

I don't believe the bonuses themselves are the heart of the matter, nor the fact that they're going to the very executives who caused AIG's implosion or even the galling reality that, since all money is fungible, they're being paid with taxpayer dollars. What's really driving this forward -- and what makes it such a dangerous moment for the White House -- is the jarring image of the administration's impotence.
It's not that the Obama administration is any more or less impotent than Bush's was or McCain's would've been, it's the mere fact that this now is happening under his watch. Besides the outrage over the bonuses generally, the optics are horrible . However, there is a way out for the administration. Nationalize AIG. Nationalize them now and, as I said in my earlier post, destroy the Financial Products division (the group responsible for this mess). The political and popular will would certainly be behind such a move. If AIG is really too big to fail, then the administration has no choice. It's either a takeover or they live with the AIG monkey on their back throwing shit and pissing on their grand plans for the next four years.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dick Cheney: still living in the shadows

Let's just say Dick Cheney is right (and I don't think he is), that, yes, Obama is making decisions that will make us less safe. Can't it be said that we know this? That we voted for this? That we have made a choice of slightly more risk in return for our collective American soul? Dick Cheney made a deal with the devil; we are now in the process of unraveling that deal. The fact the he still wants to deal with that devil is irrelevant (and so is he).

AIG to pay $165 million in bonuses

I understand the systemic risks, I understand the legal reasoning, but giving bonuses to the exact people who took the entire world economy to the brink is ludicrous. With the taxpayers' $170 billion investment in AIG, do we not have have the power to simply spin off and destroy the Financial Products division of AIG (again, the group that made these bad deals and are receiving the bonuses) and leave the well-run insurance division intact?

Larry Summers today reminded us that we must respect the law and the weight these contracts (which provided for these bonuses) have. Yes, we must preserve, respect, and not set new precedent for the abrogation of contract law in the future, but these are novel times and any precedent set by breaking these contracts would certainly be limited to the extraordinary circumstances under which they were born (and hopefully destroyed).

Truth in Comics

If it's Sunday, it's Truth in Comics.