30 September 2008
This isn't a phony crisis, it's very real, and no one should be taking delight in seeing financial institutions fail, simply assuming that a few greedy speculators and gamblers are merely getting their just desserts, or that the free market is merely correcting itself. When financial collapses and panics occur, they might start with hurting lenders but they never stop there. One relevant historical period to consider is the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the so-called "Gilded Age" when lack of regulation of the markets led to speculative bubbles that periodically burst leading to a series of depressions that destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people in America.The Great Depression of the 1930s was called "great" for a reason. It followed a long series of depressions which afflicted the American economy throughout the 19th century. [...]Sound familiar?
* The investment firm of Jay Cooke and Company went bankrupt in September 1873 as a result of rampant speculation in railroads. The stock market dropped sharply and caused numerous businesses to fail.
* The depression inspired "Coxey's Army," a march on Washington of unemployed men. The protesters demanded that the government provide public works jobs. Their leader, Jacob Coxey, was imprisoned for 20 days.
he left off the panic in 1907 that bolstered the progressive reforms of the era---
The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic, was a financial crisis which occurred in the United States when the stock market fell close to 50% from its peak in the previous year. At the time the economy was in recession and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The panic's primary cause was a retraction of loans by a number of banks in New York City, and the sentiment quickly spread across the nation leading to the closures of both state and local banks and businesses.
all of that is why the worship of "free markets" is so stupid----god help us all if we do not have governments and regulation of the market place----i think more and more people are understanding that these days
Posted by tomitron at 9/30/2008 06:22:00 PM
29 September 2008
well, maybe not---it was only the seventh or eighth biggest drop, percentage wise, in the stock market---but being the largest single point drop (777+) and knowing that over a friggn trillion dollars in "wealth" evaporated today is enough to give one pause---i'm oh so very lucky to be where i am today, but i can't say the same for just about everybody i care about----
at the very least, maybe, this has made it for obama----he's gone from just 4 or 5 points up in the intrade market last week, to 12-15 over the weekend, to nearly 25 the last time i looked----barack and roll
Posted by tomitron at 9/29/2008 08:56:00 PM
28 September 2008
25 September 2008
23 September 2008
a tribute to henry paulson:
funny if it weren't so sad----this particular contribution is from cousin angela
Posted by tomitron at 9/23/2008 06:55:00 PM
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.
I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY
HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF
800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT
WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU.
I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY
REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU
MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION
MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE.
THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY. WE NEED A BLANK CHECK. WE NEED THE
FUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSFER THESE FUNDS
IN THE NAMES OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY UNDER
SURVEILLANCE. MY FAMILY LAWYER ADVISED ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK FOR A
RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL ACT AS A NEXT OF KIN SO THE
FUNDS CAN BE TRANSFERRED.
PLEASE REPLY WITH ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, IRA AND COLLEGE FUND
ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO
WALLSTREETBAILOUT@TREASURY.GOV SO THAT WE MAY TRANSFER YOUR COMMISSION
FOR THIS TRANSACTION. AFTER I RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION, I WILL RESPOND
WITH DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDS THAT WILL BE USED TO
PROTECT THE FUNDS.
YOURS FAITHFULLY MINISTER OF TREASURY PAULSON
Posted by tomitron at 9/23/2008 06:14:00 PM
i love cnn.com's little polls----today over 280,000 people have already responded to the question de jure, "which party is more to blame for the u.s. financial crisis"?----at last count, 72% thought the answer is the republicans----at least people that read cnn.com have good sense---has the whole greed-is-good philosophy that has been pushed by the republicans for the last thirty years finally reached its waterloo?
Posted by tomitron at 9/23/2008 05:43:00 PM
22 September 2008
With our economy in crisis, the US Government is scrambling to rescue our banks by purchasing their "distressed assets", i.e., assets that no one else wants to buy from them. We figured that instead of protesting this plan, we'd give regular Americans the same opportunity to sell their bad assets to the government. We need your help and you need the Government's help!
Use the form below to submit bad assets you'd like the government to take off your hands. And remember, when estimating the value of your 1997 limited edition Hanson single CD "MMMbop", it's not what you can sell these items for that matters, it's what you think they are worth. The fact that you think they are worth more than anyone will buy them for is what makes them bad assets.
Posted by tomitron at 9/22/2008 09:50:00 PM
21 September 2008
the clinton nature preserve, which is in way western douglas county, was nice today---dog enjoyed immensely sniffing at 15 different kinds of animal dung or whatever---
the best thing about the place is this c. 1830 log house stuck way off down in the woods----it hasn't been occupied since the 1950s, but miraculously has survived in great shape---it's on the national register of historic places and one of the best-preserved log houses that i've ever seen---the larger pen was built first and a short time later the smaller pen, which was the kitchen, and the connecting dog-trot were built---it has a very rare purlin roof that extends several feet beyond the ends in order to protect what were probably original mud-mortared chimneys---the only sawn lumber was for the flooring---in the late 1890s or early 1900s, the walls, floor, and ceiling in the large pen were covered with tongue-and-groove boards, and a nice stone chimney replaced the original mud chimney at the north end of the main pen---in the 20th century, a small wood-framed room with no interior finishes was built at the rear of the kitchen and the wood-shingled roofing was replaced with corrugated metal---except for a plain porcelain light sockets in both pens after world war ii, there were no other improvements---the kitchen never had a ceiling or even chinking between the logs----
Posted by tomitron at 9/21/2008 07:49:00 PM
20 September 2008
Here is the current draft for the latest plan. It's elegantly simple. The three key provisions: (1) The Treasury Secretary is authorized to buy up to $700 billion of any mortgage-related assets (so he can just transfer that amount to any corporations in exchange for their worthless or severely crippled "assets") [Sec. 6]; (2) The ceiling on the national debt is raised to $11.3 trillion to accommodate this scheme [Sec. 10]; and (3) best of all: "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" [Sec. 8].
Put another way, this authorizes Hank Paulson to transfer $700 billion of taxpayer money to private industry in his sole discretion, and nobody has the right or ability to review or challenge any decision he makes.
Posted by tomitron at 9/20/2008 09:01:00 PM
It is one of the great curiosities of conservatism that its adherents enthusiastically destroy regulations which — besides a conscience — act as a bulwark against greed and corruption, thereby making greed and corruption inevitable. Because when (a) there's no wrong way to make a buck, and (b) no accountability or consequences for malfeasance, there's no disincentive either. (Other than being able to sleep at night, which isn't a problem if you don't have a conscience in the first place.) And when the inevitable happens, the resulting disaster spreads (because it is never really contained), they bemoan the very same rampant greed and corruption their deregulation made inevitable.
Posted by tomitron at 9/20/2008 08:16:00 AM
mccain thinks we've already got a model for dealing with health insurance:
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
Posted by tomitron at 9/20/2008 08:08:00 AM
19 September 2008
this is kunstler from the first of the week----i can't wait to read what he's thinking now
That [financial] "industry" turned out to be most earnestly devoted to the production of complex swindles. They were so finely engineered that it took twenty years for the swindles to stand revealed, and they were cleverly hitched to the primary thing that the American public vested its identity in: house-and-home. Thus, much of the public finds itself in very real danger of becoming homeless and broke.
Posted by tomitron at 9/19/2008 07:06:00 PM
17 September 2008
today the stock market dropped below what it was when bush took office in january 2001---10788 then, 10610 today
unemployment was 4.25% then, and is now over 6% and going up even before all the tens of thousands of financial-genius assholes were thrown out of work by the latest financial debacles (or is it debacli?)---
a former editor of the national review (which describes itself as "america's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for republican/conservative news, commentary, and opinion.") endorses . . . . Obama---read it all
“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.
only racists and the truly retarded among us can support the republican party as it is today
16 September 2008
if you don't know, the woman being interviewed is carly fiorina, former head of hewlett-packard and now mccan't's "top economic advisor"----her response, in a nutshell, explains the republican philosophy of governance, which is what has brought us to the brink of ruin----
but at least they've kept the queers from marrying each other
Posted by tomitron at 9/16/2008 05:44:00 PM
14 September 2008
this is part of the reason that some people call them christianists, not christians:
A new poll released Thursday (Sept. 11) finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule.
The poll, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University, found that 57 percent of respondents said torture can be often or sometimes justified to gain important information from suspected terrorists. Thirty-eight percent said it was never or rarely justified.
Posted by tomitron at 9/14/2008 07:43:00 PM
from somebody that has worked with mccain, on the same side of the aisle, his entire career:
"The thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." - Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee
but at least he's not a negro, right?
Posted by tomitron at 9/14/2008 09:46:00 AM
12 September 2008
follow the link to the video---sic him, girls---
The ladies of the View confronted John McCain today for lying in recent attack ads. In arguably his toughest interview yet, View co-host Joy Behar asked McCain:
"There are ads running from your campaign... Now we know that those two ads are untrue, they are lies. And yet, you at the end of it say you approve these messages. Do you really approve these?
Barbara then threw in her condemnation, by telling McCain: "You, yourself said the same thing about putting lipstick on a pig..."
Watch McCain try and explain the lies
there are four videos
Posted by tomitron at 9/12/2008 01:45:00 PM
11 September 2008
they're having better luck than viewpointe in leasing their commercial place----it will be a continuation of the restaurant row that's been going on at the north end of crescent ave for years----
Posted by tomitron at 9/11/2008 06:52:00 PM
the new owners of 999 peachtree have promised big changes---they've already opened the wall so there's a pedestrian entrance from peachtree place that doesn't involve going through a parking gate----and they're getting rid of that awkward plaza at the corner of tenth and p'tree, which i think was put in mostly to give the wyndham a face on p'tree, even though the building and its entrance were designed strictly for automobile access, since nobody could fathom back then that somebody might want to actually walk----it will be interesting to see if they fix that as the wyndham is transformed (or more likely simply renamed) hotel midtown----
Posted by tomitron at 9/11/2008 05:49:00 PM
roger cohen, nytimes:
And in the seventh year after the fall, the dust and debris of the towers cleared. And it became plain at last what had been wrought.
For the wreckage begat greed; and it came to pass that while America’s young men and women fought, other Americans enriched themselves. Beguiling the innocent, they did backdate options, and they did package toxic mortgage securities and they did reprice risk on the basis that it no more existed than famine in a fertile land.
Thereby did the masters of the universe prosper, with gold, with silver shekels, with land rich in cattle and fowl, with illegal manservants and maids, with jewels and silk, and with Gulfstream V business jets; yet the whole land did not prosper with them. And it came to pass, when the housing bubble burst, that Main Street had to pay for the Wall Street party.
For Bush ruled over the whole nation and so sure was he of his righteousness that he did neglect husbandry.
And he took his nation into desert wars and mountain wars, but, lo, he thought not to impose taxation, not one heifer nor sheep nor ox did Bush demand of the rich. And it came to pass that the nation fell into debt as boundless as the wickedness of Sodom. For everyone, Lehman not least, was maxed out.
So heavy was the burden of war, and of bailing out Fannie and Freddie, and of financing debt with China, that not one silver shekel remained to build bridges, nor airports, nor high-speed trains, nor even to take care of wounded vets; and the warriors returning unto their homes from distant combat thought a blight had fallen on the land.
So it was in the seventh year after the fall of the towers. And still Bush did raise his hands to the Lord and proclaim: “I will be proved right in the end!”
And around the whole earth, which had stood with America, there arose a great trouble, for it seemed to peoples abroad that a great nation, rich in flocks and herds and land and water, had been cast among thorns and Philistines; its promise betrayed, its light dimmed, its armies stretched, its budget broken, its principles compromised, its dollar diminished.
And it came to pass that this profligate nation, drinking oil with insatiable thirst, could not cure itself of this addiction, and so its wealth was transferred to other nations that did not always wish it well.
Wherefore the balance of power in the world was altered in grievous ways, and new centers of authority arose, and they were no more persuaded by democracy than was the Pharaoh.
For Bush ruled over the whole nation, and so sure was he of his righteousness that he did neglect the costs of wanton consumption. And he believed that if the Lord created fossil fuel, fossil fuel must flow without end, as surely as the grape will yield wine.
Therefore, in the seventh year after the fall, with 1,126 of the slain still unidentified, their very beings rendered unto dust, their souls inhabiting the air of New York, it seemed that one nation had become two; and loss, far from unifying the people, had sundered the nation.
For the rich, granted tax breaks more generous than any blessing, grew richer, and incomes in the middle ceased to rise, and workers saw jobs leaving the land for that region called Asia. And some fought wars while others shopped; and some got foreclosed while others got clothes. And still Bush spake but few listened.
Behold, so it was in the seventh year, and it seemed that America was doubly smitten, from without and within.
And, lo, a strange thing did come to pass. For as surely as the seasons do alternate, so the ruler and party that have brought woe to a nation must give way to others who can lead their people to plenty. How can the weary, flogged ass bear honey and balm and almonds and myrrh?
Yet many Americans believed the exhausted beast could still provide bounty. They did hold that a people called the French was to blame. They did accuse a creation called the United Nations. They did curse the ungodly sophisticates of Gotham and Hollywood and sinful Chicago; and, lo, they proclaimed God was on their side, and carried a gun, and Darwin was bunk, and truth resided in Alaska.
For Bush ruled over the whole nation and so sure was he of his righteousness that he did foster division until it raged like a plague. Each tribe sent pestilence on the other.
And in the seventh year after the fall, the dust and debris of the towers cleared. And it became plain at last what had been wrought — but not how the damage would be undone.
woe is us
Posted by tomitron at 9/11/2008 07:45:00 AM
10 September 2008
09 September 2008
the sorry polls have gotten me down and they really shouldn't, since there are so many things that can be wrong with them---there has already been the suggestion that cell-phone-only people (like myself) are underrepresented in the polling samples---but there are other problems
Some polling experts say the changing state of party affiliation in the field is slow to be reflected in polls themselves. Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg told the Huffington Post that "when it comes to registration and turnout, the polls often do a very bad job of taking those [factors] into account," because newly registered voters aren't in the voter files used by firms that survey public opinion. "You could make the argument they are under-representing new registrants," she said, which would mean that the Democrats new edge would not be taken into account.
Posted by tomitron at 9/09/2008 06:50:00 PM
i've been saying this for a while: if we end up with another republican president, after the past eight years, we have only the bigoted white racists among us to blame, and that's a real shame but there's not much to be done about it beyond getting our people to the polls
So what is the true power of Sarah Palin's and McCain's appeal? Why are they doing better than expected in the polls despite 8 years of Republican corruption, incompetence, lies and failures? I hate to say this of my fellow white Americans, but one very important factor appears to be a quality he possesses which many of them consider immutable, and a deal breaker when it comes to voting for Obama: the color of his skin. Hopefully in the debates this Fall Obama can do well enough to convince some of my fellow whites who are on the fence that the content of his character matters more than their stereotypical view of "his kind." If not this will be a long and ugly campaign that will remain close enough for the GOP to steal once more through the use of their vaunted "purge the voters who don't look pale enough" campaigns which have been so effective in 2000 and 2004.
and the debates won't change a thing
Posted by tomitron at 9/09/2008 05:55:00 PM
07 September 2008
06 September 2008
If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you." If you're white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you're "one of us."don't you just want to scream?
Posted by tomitron at 9/06/2008 09:01:00 AM
05 September 2008
Posted by tomitron at 9/05/2008 09:19:00 PM
The Sagrada Familia is the undisputed masterpiece and life’s work of Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. It is also a building mired in controversy and just plain bad luck. As the building edges ever closer toward completion, which is estimated to be in the next two decades, another protest has broken out questioning whether anyone is capable of doing justice to the late Master’s vision.gaudi died in 1926 after being run over by a streetcar
Posted by tomitron at 9/05/2008 07:39:00 PM
me and the dog like the little grove of virginia pine at the corner of cypress and eighth---smells good when the sun has heated it up----excellent clear blue sky, except to the southeast and the outer rings of hannah---but it will be like gustav and not give us any rain----ivan looks more promising
Posted by tomitron at 9/05/2008 06:30:00 PM
this is hilarious:
[A]pparently, the Republicans couldn't find very many African American supporters to show on the Big Screen Of Triumph, when introducing McCain (see 6:45, 7:02)... so they simply put up stock photos of black people. You know, riding bicycles and appreciating their moms and stuff. Both these images appeared in McCain's introduction, but you can also buy them for a buck or two from iStockphoto.com:
Posted by tomitron at 9/05/2008 05:41:00 PM
04 September 2008
the republicans people love to point out how the current congress, which they describe as being under democratic control, never gets anything done----what they hope people forget is that a party really has control only when they have at least 60 members in the senate, the rules of which basically require a 60 vote majority to ensure passage of legislation----the mistake the dems have made, i think, is not forcing more straight-out filibusters, which is all the control the republicans have---they still might not have gotten any more passed, but at least it would make it clear which party was being obstructionist
Posted by tomitron at 9/04/2008 07:44:00 PM
the palin speech was totally depressing--- i can't believe they've again reduced themselves to rovian politics---actually i can believe it, but being the sucker that i am, i gave mccain the benefit of the doubt and thought he might be at least marginally better than bush. But palin was smug and sarcastic, belittling half of the country (you and me) as she mocked obama, with nothing in between to suggest how they might differ from the wretchedness of the last eight years other than doubling down on the blatant appeals to bigotry, ignorance, and religious intolerance---
obama has raised $8 million just since last night and expect to hit $11 million by the time McCan't speaks tonight---i just did my part to make that happen---i can't really afford it right now, but i can't afford not to---
and a little local color, if you will: the illustrious rep. lynn westmoreland (fayette, coweta counties) , who i think is the state's most retarded congressman at this particular point in time, was quoted today as calling obama "uppity"!!!!!!!!!! and asked if that was really what he said, he repeated it: "uppity"----- he didn't say "uppity n_ _ _ _ _ _" but anybody that grew up in the south could fill in the blank----
jeez---i hope my stent and cardiovascular system in general hold up for the next two months
Posted by tomitron at 9/04/2008 06:51:00 PM
03 September 2008
02 September 2008
and this is one:
Still, you have to admit that in all that time, especially since Palin became governor about two years ago, no Russian invasion force has come across the strait, maybe because she was in charge of the Guard, maybe because she herself is a hunter and an athlete. The record is unclear because no high-ranking Russian appeared on any of the weekend talk shows to say how they had considered an invasion of Alaska and then backed off when Sarah Palin became commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. Who could blame them?
Posted by tomitron at 9/02/2008 06:41:00 PM
01 September 2008
so much goes on under the radar
So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protesters who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do. And as extraordinary as that conduct is, more extraordinary is the fact that they have received virtually no attention from the national media and little outcry from anyone. And it's not difficult to see why. As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits. There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry.
Posted by tomitron at 9/01/2008 09:14:00 PM
one of the more interesting parts of the festivities at the park yesterday were the teams of dancers doing some sort of take-off on vogueing---we had watched one team in an impromptu show at the park a few weeks ago---never seen anything else quite like it
Posted by tomitron at 9/01/2008 07:13:00 PM