Monday, March 30, 2009

Big Winner in Firing of Rick Wagoner

The big winner in the story of the firing of GM's former CEO Rick Wagoner is Scott Murphy, running in a special election in upstate NY. If I were Murphy, I would used the next 40 hours to let everyone know that while George W. Bush and the Republican party gave away your money to companies like AIG without restrictions, President Obama and the Democrats are finally holding corporate America to account, and are demanding real change for companies asking for a bailout.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Budget Crisis Averted?

The New York Times:
Albany Agrees on a Plan to Raise Taxes on Top Earners

Gov. David A. Paterson and leaders of the Legislature have reached a deal to temporarily raise taxes on New York’s highest earners in order to close the state’s yawning budget deficit, lawmakers and officials involved in the talks said on Saturday.

The new plan, which would expire after three years, would represent the largest state income tax increase in recent history, significantly larger than the surcharges imposed from 2003 to 2005, when the state last faced a major recession.

The plan would raise $4 billion a year by creating two new tax brackets, the highest one affecting those who earn $500,000 or more. If approved by rank-and-file lawmakers in the Assembly and State Senate, the tax increases would be a major victory for unions and liberal advocacy groups and a signal of the new balance of power in Albany, where Democrats won control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office in last year’s election.

Although the proposed tax has been called a “millionaires’ tax,” it would affect those with incomes starting at $300,000, who would be taxed at a rate of 7.85 percent. The highest bracket would carry a tax rate of 8.97 percent — the same as New Jersey’s current highest rate.


The insurance industry could be the next shoe to drop in the financial crisis, a big hedge fund warns. "We think the insurance industry now is essentially where the banking industry was 12 months ago," according to the 5½-page report by Bridgewater, which is distributed to a tight circle of clients.

Bridgewater said the worst of the insurers' problems have yet to emerge. It noted that the industry could be forced to come up with as much as $59 billion in fresh capital as a result of downgrades on assets these companies are sitting on. Insurers are also big owners of commercial real-estate loans, and that market is widely expected to falter as a result of corporate cutbacks and depressed office rents. On top of that, Bridgewater projects the industry will have to shell out as much as $800 billion on so-called whole-life policies, which essentially are life-insurance policies with a savings component. Historically, during rough economic times, holders of these policies tend to draw down on money built up in these accounts whenever they're short on cash.


March 26 (Bloomberg) - A special U.S. congressional election in upstate New York may provide an early referendum on a politician who’s not on the ballot: President Barack Obama.
The race in New York’s 20th district will replace Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat when she became secretary of state. The March 31 election between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco has taken on broader significance because the candidates have made their dispute over Obama’s $787 billion economic-stimulus bill the campaign’s central issue.

Murphy, 39, has hammered Tedisco over his opposition to the stimulus plan, and Tedisco, 58, has criticized Murphy for supporting legislation that allowed AIG executives to receive million-dollar bonuses. The Republican’s ads, in turn, tie Murphy to AIG and government waste. This week, Tedisco staged a walk down Broadway, the main street in Saratoga Springs, to highlight the "greed and indifference on Wall Street and in Washington" that’s hurt people on Main Street.In a March 24 debate hosted by New York’s WNYT Channel 13, Tedisco vowed to “fight against waste and stand up and blow the whistle on Wall Street’s greed” while Murphy highlighted his support for Obama’s stimulus plan.

This ridiculous strutting peacock has no shame at all, does he?


The funds would help GM meet its goal of
receiving $6 billion from Canada, Germany, the U.K.,
Sweden and Thailand on top of the $16.6 billion it requested from the U.S. to avoid bankruptcy.


General Motors Unit May Get Aid
From Thailand If GM ‘Survives’


AP Hypes Fake Notre Dame Controversy

Criticism Over Obama Invite Mounts at Notre Dame

By Tom Coyne, Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne, Associated Press Writer
Fri Mar 27, 9:08 am ET

Many Catholics are angered by Obama's planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure.

The consensus Thursday on the campus of the nation's most-prominent Catholic university was that any president should be welcomed at Notre Dame.

Then why you did write the fucking story???

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Does Tom Friedman Stay So Topical?

According to Tom Friedman, there are no adults in charge in Washington. We know this because Eric Cantor is acting like a partisan jerk, Congress is objecting to the AIG bonuses, and President Obama, the top person in Washington... well he went on Jay Leno, so he's just as bad as a third world dictator.

It's probably the laziest column to write -- "a pox on both their houses" -- while you pontificate on what real leaders would really do - take the high, non-partisan road, of course. Weirdly, though, Tommy still believes in business self-regulation, and of course he believes corporate executives, Wall Street financiers even, basically have hearts of gold and sleep wrapped in Betsy Ross' American flag.

See, all Obama had to do was go on national tv and ask the bonus recipients to give the money back. This would be a "great national mission" - giving back millions in unearned, undeserved tax money while remaining obscenely rich being much like going to the moon, or landing on the beaches of Normandy. This would elevate the President, says Friedman, although, oddly, the bonus recipients themselves would be worse off than under the so called "punitive" tax Tommy finds too "banana republic" for his taste. Strangely, he capitalizes the term, perhaps unable to distinguish between the concept of third world nation and a high-end retail chain for bored suburban teenagers.

Anyway, he caps it all by quoting his anonyous Indian buddy and the CEO of some company which helps reluctant businesses "build ethical cultures". Also he quotes fictional anonymous friends who tell him they are depressed listening to the news. Finally, Friedman channels the DJ robot from the Simpsons, attacking - no really - the "clowns" who are balloning in importance and distracting us from the really important stuff. How does Tommy stay so topical?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meet the Press with Christina Romer & Eric Eric Cantor - March 15, 2009

Meet the Press
March 15, 2009
Christina Romer
Rep. Eric Cantor

Gregory: are we in a war? I love those

Romer: yes - it’s great that means Obama can seize bankers off the street and put torture them without charges

Gregory: but McCain said the fundamentals of the economy were strong just like Bammy

Romer: yes but he was an out of touch idiot

Gregory: are the fundamentals strong or not

Romer: well sure the earth still has a crust

Gregory: so John McCain was right

Romer: yelling at clouds is not the answer

Gregory: was Bush wrong?

Romer: we were all wrong

Gregory: so that proves you could be wrong

Romer: well sure

Gregory: so don’t the people deserve to know what you’re not planning to do?

Romer: huh?

Gregory: has the stimulus failed?

Romer: give it one more week

Gregory: Paul Krugman says you don’t spend enough

Romer: but he didn’t take into account Obama bought his kids a playhouse

Gregory: will Obama tax employees health care?

Romer: no

Gregory: but I read he would

Romer: where?

Gregory: the National Enquirer - also Lindsay Lohan is in trouble again!

Romer: idiot

Gregory: is it off the table?

Romer: which table?

Gregory: THE table!

Romer: oh that table

Gregory: Bailouts for AIG?

Romer: we’re all very angry about that

Gregory: so what are you going to do?

Romer: we’re writing a strongly worded letter urging them to give the money back

Gregory: so it’s like Albert Brooks in Life in America

Romer: right

Gregory: aren’t we going to war with no troops?

Romer: you know dancin’ dave I had I heard you were a true moron

Gregory: but we have no top people at the Dept of Treasury!!

Romer: I’m sure the nation will survive

Gregory: but you need people with experience on Wall Street to get us out of the mess Wall Street created!

Romer: hey we have very high ethics

Gregory: [ sobs ]

Gregory: we need a detailed blueprint for the next four years!!

Romer: you’re very silly

Gregory: but the first thing FDR did was build a highway on the West side of New York!!

Romer: I don’t think that’s right Gregory

Gregory: the hardest thing is to admit the Pile is made of Shit

Romer: we’re working on admitting that

Gregory: so how do square that Shit Circle?

Romer: I’ll let Obama try sell you that crap

Gregory: what should consumers do now?

Romer: save money but also tomorrow go out and buy a car you can’t afford


Gregory: hey Congressman is the economy recovering?

Cantor: I’d like to think so but let’s face it - Bush left us with a mess and we need socialism for small businesses

Gregory: oh really - what’s your solution to the crisis?

Cantor: help all the little wonderful puppy and kitten businesses who can’t get loans

Gregory: so what? Ayn Rand would say fuck ‘em

Cantor: Government should get out of the way by guaranteeing all business loans

Gregory: you oppose big government spending and borrowing except for your business friends?

Cantor: right - Obama’s Treasury Dept should take over the American banking system

Gregory: so are you a socialist?

Cantor: Republicans believe we should plant magic beans all over America and then harvest the gold that blossoms thereof

Gregory: interesting - is that all?

Cantor: Oh no - we all plan to bash Barack Obama for not having a blueprint for Any Randian Socialism

Gregory: will you vote for the budget bill?

Cantor: no it’s has to be very focused on helping people in my state

Gregory: fair enough

Cantor: Obama is trying to do much and instead of not doing anything which is much more impressive

Gregory: the GOP just discovered spending problems after 30 years of spending like crazy insane people

Cantor: that’s doesn’t give Democrats an excuse to be as bad as Republicans!

Gregory: did you ever oppose spending??

Cantor: no because Republicans love America and the flag and apple pie and the troops

Gregory: that sounds a little like hypocrisy

Cantor: but there’s a train to Disneyland!!

Gregory: you supported 46,000 earmarks

Cantor: yes but Obama is a magic negro here to save us all

Gregory: you gotta be fucking kidding me

Cantor: look we are very troubled that just because Americans completely rejected the GOP liberal policies are being implemented

Gregory: that is a surprise to you?

Cantor: yes because only Republicans understand America

Gregory: Did Congress drop the ball on the economic crisis?

Cantor: yes we need to follow Ayn Rand’s example and have more Randian Regulation

[ break ]

Gregory: are the Dems hypocrites for saying things have gotten better?

Liesman: but things are better!

Tavis Smiley: I hate bad bailouts

David Frum: I am expert on the Depression

Gregory: why is Obama bad?

Frum: because the stimulus is not big enough

Liesman: coming from you that’s stupid

Frum: true - but that’s no excuse

Katty Kay: Europeans don’t care about the recession because they still have health care and at least there are no concentration camps

Gregory: Jon Stewart pointed out that the media failed - is that true?

Liesman: sadly yes

Gregory: that’s pretty horrible - let’s go to economic expert Tavis Smiley

Smiley: Greed is not speed! Wall Street is not Main Street! Poverty is not Dougherty!

Gregory: what should have been done to stop Americans buying a big house?

Frum: Bush should probably not have lied so much

Smiley: how about fewer tax cuts for the rich?

Frum: that’s crazy talk

Kay: journalists didn’t ask any sensible questions

Liesman: well in their defense - they’re idiots

Gregory: Steele is pro-choice now??

Frum: Steele is warm and exciting and fresh

Gregory: you make him sound like an Oreo Pop Tart

Frum: He’s the best thing to happen to the Republican party since stovepipe hats

Gregory: so when will he be fired

Frum: next week

Smiley: I tell you dude you’re not going to get black voters with this weirdo

Frum: he’s not black - but he’s got great blackiness

Gregory: and we’re done

The Chris Matthew Show - March 15, 2009

The Chris Matthew Show
March 15, 2009

Matthews: can Obama cure my illness?

Fineman: no he must explain how all lending works

Tweety: I love you - you’re the best! -- but you’re not bashing Obama enough

Burnett: did you know Banks are not America’s biggest lenders!

Tweety: who are?

Burnett: mafia loansharks

Tweety: Timmy Geither is confusing!!

Sorkin: Look who talking

Fineman: he’s too much of an insider - he’s a green eyeshade guy

Tweety: so who’s doing the White House public relations?

Fineman: Larry Summers

Tweety: oh no

Burnett: all we know is that it’s very important that the big bankers stay rich

Tweety: will Obama give me more money?

Sorkin: everyone thinks we should have a bigger stimulus

Fineman: it will never happen

Tweety: who will stop it?

Fienman: John Boehner and the Electric Randians

Tweety: what’s wrong with America?

Burnett: we borrowed too much money

Tweety: so let’s borrow more money?

Burnett: yes also let’s name some more airports after Ronald Reagan

Tweety: are we all bottoms now?

Burnett: not yet

Sorkin: Jon Stewart will get me for whatever I say

Tweety: don’t flatter yourself opie

Tweety: OMG Obama has abdicated all his power to Rahm Emmanuel!!!

Fineman: that’s right - Congress is writing all the spending bills!!

Tweety: I love it!!

Kornblut: it’s crazy just because Obama is trying to get things done

Tweety: but it’s not like Hillary with health care in 1993!

Tweety: Obama is scaring the money people!!

Sorkin: that’s all you ever say idiot

Tweety: Obama is doing everything which means he has given away all his power!

Fineman: he’s a stud but he needs to get on the road

Sorkin: you just complained that he was on the road too much!!

Fineman: that’s true -- but the point is that he sucks

Burnett: Wall Street thinks he’s doing a good job

Tweety: no no no!

Burnett: the good news Nebraska is hiring telemarkers and casinos in Iowa are doing well!

Fineman: If Franken finally the nasty pro-unions bill will pass

Kornblut: people love the troops which will be good when martial law comes

Sokin: Hank Paulson was right!

Burnett: recovery by 2010!

Sorkin: recovery by 2009 but you just won’t feel it

Kornblut: the Dems will fail!

Fineman: Nes! No!

Tweety: you’re all so smart!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I would like Paul Krugman to tell us how much more he thinks the stimulus package should be.

Also, he implies that Obama could get more money through Congress now if he asked, but how realistic is that?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama Offers to Work With Russia

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.

Damm good idea.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Will Obama get concessions from the Auto Industry?

It sounded like Rahm Emmanuel, appearing on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, suggested that in exchange for a bailout of the big three auto makers, the administration expects support for Obama's proposals on national reform for Energy and Health Care policy.

Which, if true, is pretty damm smart.