Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zero Banking Reserves

An obscure and convoluted amendment to the current bailout plan would have allowed banks to have zero reserves against deposits effective 10/1/08. What does this mean? I guess not much, though it sounded scary.
Wells Fargo found our money.
I think the bailout needs to be scaled back to ~200 billion and the language greatly simplified with no bailout for secure/stable institutions and more items that Democrats wanted, such as the bankruptcy judge provision, equity in institutions, and clear limits on executive compensation. Let the Democrats pass this and let Bush veto it if he so likes.

Inspires My Confidence, Not.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Joys of TSA

Not Too Small to Appear on a Big No-Fly Watch List

Baby Jack is fingered as a terrorist.
The woman at the ticket counter demanded, ‘Who is John Anderson?’ ” Ms. Anderson recalled. She pointed at the baby stroller and said, “He’s right here.” The suspect, then 2 years old, blinked his big blue eyes and happily gummed his pacifier.

“That baby’s on the no-fly watch list,” the agent said.

His brothers became agitated. “We’re not going to Disney World!” one of them wailed, according to Ms. Anderson.

After about an hour, the airline ascertained that the Jack in the stroller was not the Jack on the terrorist list, and the family made its flight.

Funny Bailout Plan

Dear Wall Street, here's your NEW bailout plan
1) We are willing to loan you money at a very low, introductory rate of 8.9%. If you are even one nanosecond late on your payment, your rate will go from 8.9% to 32.9% instantly. You will have no right to appeal this. The interest rate increase will be retroactive. None of this "but I mailed it out Friday" nonsense. We must get it, and the check must clear, for your payment to count. A reminder: transactions that occur after 2pm are not credited until the next business day, so be sure to make your payments before then...

3) We will send you onerous terms and conditions 148,000,000 pages long in 6 point font. Of course, those terms can change on a whim, at any time, so we'll be sending you hourly updates to the contract, which we expect you to read and keep up with. Sorry, we will be the only ones that can amend the contract; you cannot.

4) You will have a predetermined credit line, and if you go over it by even $1, your interest rate will spike to 54.9%. Sorry, it's in the contract on page 109,209,392.

There is something to be said for trying to make Wall Street pay. But since our lives are all mixed up in the US Financial Market whether we know it or not, we will pay also.
We currently have a Home Equity Loan for our remodel that has been approved and was due to be funded last Friday. Wells Fargo cannot scrape up the liquidity to fund it yet! I have the e-mail saying it was funded as of Friday. But it is not funded. They are working on it, sweeping the nickels off the floor.

Looking Back

I wrote a lot about the economy last year before we went to Europe. So I decided to look back and see how accurate I was. I predicted stagflation in a year. Well, pretty close. We are having a fairly high inflation rate combined with what in retrospect will be called recession. Of course we are now in the ultimate credit crisis which may just lead to a great depression. I wrote this about financial liquidity in August '07.
Banking crisis
Bush flexes his MBA muscles and says liquidity is fine. "There is plenty of liquidity." But in the meantime the Fed has to put $38bn of "new money" (fresh off the presses) into the system while overseas central banks have to put $91bn into their markets. Fed chairman is looking down the barrel of having to decrease prime which may fuel inflation. And the mortgage crisis has just begun. Banks and lending companies are looking at deeper holes later this year and into '08.

So Do They Stay or Do They Go

What happens now? No Deal? Do the Democrats try to do a bill by themselves that is better for Main Street? Or do they go home for the election? The Congress has a lot of members standing for re-election. Congress was supposed to recess on the 26th. How are they going to keep all the members in Washington?
I think they are going to have to wait for the Stock Market to really crash. The Ted Spread is rising toward 3.50. Apparently all credit availability grinds to a halt at 4.00 or so.
We are dealing with a crisis that mimics the story of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf". Wolf-no wolf and Bush got the Patriot Act. Wolf-no wolf and Bush got the Iraq War. Wolf-yes wolf and no credit bailout for Bush.
The House Republican leadership points fingers at Nancy Pelosi. She is always an easy target for the Republicans, although her speech that they pointed to did not sound partisan to me. "The devil (Nancy) made me do it."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jon before the bloody crash

Jon was riding second to the eventual winner of the MadCross, Jonathan Page, before he crashed and cut his ankle and needed 15 stitches. He is to be racing today, but I have seen no results.
At Jonathan Pages Planet Bike Cup the elite men’s race was won by no other than Jonathan Page himself. The race turned into a one-man show after Jonathan Baker (Vitamin Cottage) sliced open his ankle forcing him out of the race and Todd Wells (GT) had to make two stops in the pit and chase back from deep in the field. Michael Mueller also riding for Planet Bike took second. Bjorn Selander (Ridley) and Todd Wells (Clif Bar) battled all race but Selander held on for 3rd. Troy Wells (GT) fought back throughout the race working his way through the large field to grab 5th place.

They only mention injuries of important riders, so obviously Jon is getting to be important.

106 vs 3

Let us hope that bigger is better as the bill to bailout the credit crisis is now 106 pages vs 3 pages. I am trying to figure out what is different from the outline that was proposed last Thursday that fell through on McCain's and Congressional Republicans' objections. No bailout for homeowners in bankruptcy as Repubs felt that trial lawyers would benefit. I am not sure how as the option was to give judges the ability to restructure foreclosures that were part of bankruptcies and I am not aware that for most people these involve trial lawyers. Also there was another proposal to help homeowners that Republicans thought would help low income community organizers. They specifically designated Acorn which does not take federal money anyway. We have to make sure we do not help those "lucky ducky" poor. An insurance scheme that Republicans wanted is included, although it is seen as unworkable and there is no requirement to use it. Deal or No Deal?
Update: I think it is no deal, because not enough Republicans will vote for it and Democrats are not going to do it alone. I'm not even sure that there are enough Democratic votes to pass it. So hang on to your hat. We live in interesting times.

CNN Insult

Just now on CNN. This Week in Politics statement (Tom Foreman): "Most new Democratic voters are the type that have trouble showing up and using new voting machines." So new Democrats are stupid. Wow! Nice! Since I just made sure 4 extremely intelligent family members are registered.
And you thought only FOX insulted Democratic voters.

Off to See the Raiders

William left at the crack of dawn today to see the Raiders. There is a local chartered fan bus that a friend has season tickets on. His wife could not come today, so William will go instead. I'm not sorry I'm not going. I'm not much of a football fan. Truthfully, the Raiders were much more exciting in the roid rage fueled days of Lyle Alzedo.

Two Sides to every Tragedy

In Sacramento we recently had an unusual shooting. A reportedly homeless woman shot a disabled man who allegedly refused to give her any money when she panhandled from him. Marcos Breton, a regular Sacramento Bee columnist, gives us the reactionary response. While Robert Tobin gives us a bit more back story on the general problem of homelessness in the context of today in an excellent My View article.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chinese Milk

It has been a while since I have written about China. With the era of globalization, much more processed food and processed food ingredients are manufactured in China. Nestle, a ubiquitous international company, opened a new milk factory in China in July of '07. This quote is from an article about the opening:
Nestlé today inaugurated a new state-of-the-art milk factory in Erguna, near Hulunbeir, in the Chinese Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region...

Since the Nestlé Group began investing in China two decades ago, the Company has opened 21 factories in 18 different sites across the country and today employs about 13,000 people. In 2006, Nestlé had sales of CHF 1.9 billion in China.

These milk products are added to a wide range of products. There is no law that requires a made in USA product to list the country of origin of ingredients. Because Nestle owns so many companies, Carnation, for example, it is impossible to know where ingredients are going.

I have just thrown out a box of Carnation powdered milk that I use to add to recipes and have also thrown out Nestle hot chocolate mix. I have warned in e-mails about Snickers bars.

Just because the FDA has not issued a warning yet about Melamine in USA distributed milk-containing products does not mean it is not there. This was first noticed in China in '07 and has taken until this past month for action to be taken in China. China can move fast and you can be sure heads, literally, will roll. But the FDA, underfunded and undermanned, will move slow.

If you do not want you and your children to go the way of the poor cats and dogs affected by the Melamine laced cat and dog food, stop buying and eating processed foods with milk products. Buy organic and buy local. Buy food made with local and organic ingredients. Demand that a country of origin be on labels so that you have a choice to buy a product with ingredients totally from the USA.

Some food companies owned by Nestle: Maggi seasonings and soups, Crosse & Blackwell, Findus, Libby's, Stouffer's, Carnation, Rowntree Mackintosh (Willy Wonka), Chef America (Hot Pockets), Dreyer's, GM (Cheerios), Ovaltine, and Gerber.

Although I have focused on Nestle, I am sure that there are many more food corporations either manufacturing their food products in China or using Chinese made food ingredients. We need to know what we eat.
Update: Heinz baby cereal made in China recalled.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Real Agenda

Although the Conservative Republicans do not like the idea of bailing out the credit crisis, other more far-sighted Republicans like this. When Obama wins he will be forced, as Bill Clinton was, to give up his social agenda. Thomas Frank spells it out in No Future For You.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So McCain Comes Back to Washington

For the first time since April (last vote cast), John McCain comes back to Washington to help? with the financial crisis. Never having admitted to even having read the Paulson plan, let alone probably the bipartisan congressional plan, John McCain's only offering during the White House meeting was some objections. This emboldened the large contingent of conservative House Republicans to walk out of negotiations. Now I hear that they and John McCain are putting forward a plan that includes more banking deregulation, corporate tax breaks and lower capital gains taxes. The Republicans had already floated these ideas and had been told by Paulson that they would not work. I am not really in favor of the Paulson plan, but a buying of warrants in a company would certainly free up money for credit which is what is said to be needed right now. As I type Washington Mutual has failed. The larger dominoes begin to fall. Bank of America is another possibility.

McCain Addresses The Nation.

What's New Today

Wall Street is up 197 as exuberance reigns with the idea of a bailout. But the Ted Spread (the last time I could get it to load) is 3.04 up .02 from yesterday and the Ted Spread needs to come down to free up credit.
John McCain continues to play chicken about the debate.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nightly Nap

Tonight Wm fell asleep about 9PM. He will eventually go to bed and may wake up at 6AM. I am watching Letterman and may wake up at 8AM or later and be chided for getting up late and/or needing more sleep. Ho Ho Joke's on him.

Credit Default Swaps

So what we are going to do is buy $700 billion worth of credit default swaps.
My explanation of a credit default swap is; I bet you that Frank will place a $100 bet on a football game in October and maybe he won't honor his bet. Then I sell that bet on to someone else, who sells it on and sells it on.
Just to keep things in perspective, in 2006 our US taxpayer federal income tax receipts were $1.2 trillion. Bloomberg News reports that the now-worthless credit default swaps are/were worth $62 trillion. Pardon my skepticism, but how the heck would $700 billion put value back into $62 trillion?
So we are going to throw $700 billion at worthless items. A sure loss. Financial Times says no. We should follow the lead of Warren Buffet who bought $5 billion of warrants in Goldman-Sachs at 10% interest.
With this tactic we would add liquidity to the system, get something for our money, and not just provide welfare to corporations.
The corporate executives who invented Credit Default Swaps deserve to take a loss on them. I'm not buying them.

Why 700 billion?

This quote from the Treasury in Forbes is insane:
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

The Black Dance

This article is enough to bring tears to your eyes as it chronicles some black history inspired by the NYT article referenced. NYTimes, "Uppity Nig**rs" and the destruction of Black Wall Street

The Coming Police State

Read the Battle Plan by Naomi Wolf and weep.
I think down in the article she is missing the link to the battle troops attached to the North American Command that I mentioned yesterday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Slacker Uprising

Watch Michael Moore's new film Slacker Uprising for free.

Senator Bernie Sanders

Listen to the senator and sign his petition.

Poll shows Americans hate the bailout

Americans Don't Favor the Bush Bailout

Update from Reuters

Nasty Fed Reserve Talk

I hear that the Federal Reserve money supply may be tainted by Credit Default Swaps to a huge degree.
Supply of Federal Reserve Balances
The supply of Federal Reserve balances to depository institutions comes from three sources: the Federal Reserve’s portfolio of securities and repurchase
agreements; loans from the Federal Reserve through its discount window facility; and certain other items on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet known as autonomous factors.

The bailout is a coverup of this problem.

Don't take the Bait

This post explains how I feel about the bailout. As I said before, if it is passed, it is heads Dems lose and tails Dems lose.

Bad Borrowers

Have you been as irritated as I have been at the MSM consistently saying that the cause of the crisis in Wall Street has been caused by the borrowers--caused by irresponsible people probably minorities borrowing more than they should. The MSM is blaming Carter? and the 1977 act that stopped redline lending practices. Hale Stewart debunks this here. This is setting up people to deflect the blame from the real culprits --lenders--and putting the blame on other people--strange irresponsible people we don't know----or not--if you know people who have been or are on their way to being foreclosed on as I do.

Worries include response

Because our plutocrats are worried about a peasant uprising like this, we now have active duty response brigades attached to Army Northern Command.

Radio Analysis

Salon Radio: Notre Dame Finance Professor Richard Sheehan
Clear as you can get radio analysis of why we should not do this bailout.

This Modern World

Tom Tomorrow as usual has it spot on in his latest cartoon.

E-Mail Senate and Congress

I just finished sending e-mails to Doolittle, Boxer, Feinstein, Pelosi and Ried in my name and Wm's (with his permission.) This is what I wrote:
No Bailout! Do something else. Put a moratorium on foreclosures. Have a Bank Holiday. Use some of the plans used in the '30's. But No Money to Hank Paulson. No Money to buy currently toxic assets at inflated prices. Make loans, not gifts. Reregulate Wall Street investment. Don't be in a big hurry. Think about this!

If we all express our opinion to Congress and the Senate, maybe they will slow down and realize that the Bush administration is shouting Wolf again. Maybe there will be some liquidity problems. So give some government loans. But don't reward the bad guys.

What did you expect?

Bloomberg article--Goldman-Sachs and Morgan-Stanley will benefit most from the bailout--if it happens. Gee now remind me--where was Hank Paulson formerly CEO?
In the 1990s, a Japanese government effort to buy troubled assets from banks to free up lending failed because sellers weren't willing to accept the prices offered,

Not a problem for Paulson here, as he plans to offer inflated prices for the securities. Also he plans to get the job done by hiring investment bankers at their accustomed (seven figure) salaries to buy the securities. A cozy deal all around. And no new regulations.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No President Lower

Bush's overall popularity is now down to 19%. Read the full results at The National Economy.

Sensible Advice

Bridge Loan to Nowhere an article in the Nation offers a sensible analysis and a sensible solution. The authors take a page from the New Deal for solutions that worked in the 30's and would not reward the bad behavior of Wall Street.

Tart-up a Bailout

Great. We will put some lipstick and feathers on the Paulson Bailout. All the Republicans including McCain will vote against it and use it as a bludgeon against the Democrats. It gives the Republicans distance from the Bush disaster and also gives them a talking point against big spending Democrats. And if it doesn't work, which it may not, even better--for them. Heads we lose, tails we lose. I think we just need to wait for a new administration. This Bailout is the last mushroom cloud of the Bush Administration and we need to not help pull the trigger.

If You Fall For This

Dear American:

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

Psychoanalyze Your Thought Processes

Why are voters resistant to change? Because change involves thought and analysis that most people are unable/unwilling to make. Those who are least capable of making informed decisions tend to think that they are very capable. Those who are very capable of making informed decisions tend to think that others are also analyzing information.
In the current presidential election, a major percentage of voters are already committed to "their candidate"; new arguments and evidence fall on deaf ears. And yet, if we, as a country, truly want change, we must be open-minded, flexible and willing to revise our opinions when new evidence warrants it. Most important, we must be able to recognize and acknowledge when we are wrong.

we are as bad at judging ourselves as we are at judging others. Most cognitive scientists now believe that the majority of our thoughts originate in the areas of the brain inaccessible to conscious introspection.

My candidate, myself

Even when faced with new facts and insights, most voters don't change their minds about their favorite candidates. A neurologist explains how they might.

By Robert Burton

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More on Bailout Plan

Got to be a NO on this. Cleaning out the Treasury is a feature not a bug of this plan. Naked Capitalism has a detailed analysis. Paul Krugman tells Bill Maher why you should be scared.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That's some Ivy

When I looked out to see the ivy trunk that William had severed to kill the ivy on one of the trees in the backyard that is scheduled to go down, I was amazed at how large it was. Then William wanted a pic of me with the severage to further show the size.

Move on for Obama

On Sunday I will be taking my cell phone to a phone party sponsored by moveon.org. We will be phoning into our neighboring battleground state of Nevada. And eating cake.
On Wednesday I will do my usual phone banking for Charlie Brown as our local Congressional candidate. I am proud of the Boulder Baker's who are partying for Obama in Colorado. I am proud of the Texas Turpen's who are voting for Obama and have a bumper sticker for Obama on the truck.

Financials as Drug Dealing

I have been reading a financial newsletter that Wm sent me from John Maudlin. He is describing the way mortgages were combined into securities and then divided up into other securities. These securities were then further divided. Each time they were divided the dividers took a cut and marked up the price and resold them taking a profit. Why is this sounding like drug dealing?
Now we are going to buy the cut down drugs/securities for 700 billion/1.5 trillion. Oh, but Bush says we will get some of this money back. Will we get back the profits that were taken? NO. We are just going to pay the drug dealers/bankers full value. Will we get back 50% of the value? Maybe, if we try to go into these securities and take some remediation to stop the foreclosures by renegotiating loans at risk by either lowering and fixing the interest rates on toxic ARMs or writing down the amounts of loans on mortgages that are higher than the value of the property. But I do not see the USA as doing this. We reward the rich not anyone else. We will probably just sell these potentially valuable assets for dime on the dollar as we did during the S&L bailout. So if we get 10% back on our "investment in the future of bankers", we will be lucky. Or maybe we just leave the whole s**t mess for the next president, so we can blame it on him.
A professional view: Bailout as Tar Pit
part of the language of the proposed bailout
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.

Woo Hoo!! Party Down on Wall Street. Handing all our money and all our money in the future to the investment banks.
Bill analysis of this executive power grab.
Do you remember the quick push through of the Patriot Act? Almost makes you believe that we are seeing another application of the Shock Doctrine. Bwahhahha!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Old but Relevant for the Irony Factor

Paulson, former head of Goldman-Sachs, had to sell a lot of stock prior to taking over as Treasury Secretary.
Interestingly, under U.S. government ethics rules, while Paulson is required to sell the shares, he is also exempt from paying taxes on any capital gains on the sale if he obtains a certificate of divestiture. The rule granting the exemption is designed to make sure prospective government employees who own a lot of stock are not dissuaded from joining the government.
Earlier this week, the Economist magazine estimated the rule eliminate a tax liability of up to about $200 million for Paulson.

The irony here is great. Here the biggest of the big wigs got to cash out tax free.
Now he is trying to fix the mess he and the other big wigs created.
Who says irony is dead?

Paulson bailout a Historic Swindle


Tonight we had a prebirthday party for Robert. He was sad that I am always here for Jasmine's birthday and never for his. He said it was also a goodbye party for me as I am heading home tomorrow evening. I said goodbye to him tonight as he gets up very early and is at school at 7AM. He gets a ride with the boy across the street. He has 2 hours of marching band practice with the tuba before school.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Pentagon Plan

Latest from Wired: Pentagon strategists say that World of Warcraft could be used by terrorists to plan terror attacks. So they plan to have agents playing the game to smoke out all those 15 year old terrorists.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Elusive Robert

The elusive Robert doing the dishes.

More Ben

Ben helped bake the banana bread. He stirred very nicely.
Ben is playing in his "new" sand box. Val put a wanted on craigslist. Craigslist is one of her customers. She got a neighbor with a nice box almost immediately.

Nitwit Denver Lawyer

One of Colorado's lesser lights was taken for 120K, or so he claims, in a hotel room robbery (AKA tryst gone bad) at the RNC.

Whose Your Mother?

Find out what your name would be, if Sarah Palin were your mother.

Funny House of Palin

Excellent satire by K.M. Breay.
The season finale of Fox's smash hit "House Of Palin" garnered a record 58 million viewers Thursday evening, becoming the most watched television show in American history. The wildly successful reality program, which chronicles the foibles and follies of Vice President Sara Palin and her whacky family, became an instant sensation when it debuted shortly after Mrs. Palin took office last year.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day is Wednesday the 17th of September. This is the day when we should all vow to support the Constitution and what it stands for. Sign up as a constitution voter. I did.
I'm a Constitution Voter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nancy Gregg

NanceGreggs's Journal: Nance Rants
Voting for Dummies
Posted by NanceGreggs in General Discussion: Presidential
Sun Sep 14th 2008, 07:39 PM
I’m voting for McCain/Palin, and here’s why:

Ben and the Ant

Jasmine brought Ben in from outside where he said he had tripped on an ant. Reminds me of the time Jon fell and claimed he had tripped on an ant at about the same age.

But Ben was soon distracted by his Superdog puzzle.

Has McCain Gone Too Negative?

Even Karl Rove says that McCain has stretched the truth too much. AKA Lied! In his defense McCain says that he would not have gone so negative if Obama had just agreed to the series of town hall meetings that McCain wanted to have. This was at the 9/11 Columbia event
McCain was asked about disparaging remarks that his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, made about Obama’s work as a community organizer—an experience Obama later called the best education he had ever received. McCain responded by blaming Obama for the negative timbre of the campaign.

“The tone of this ... whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America, the same way Jack Kennedy and Barry Goldwater had agreed to do so,” McCain said.

Is he really serious? He is saying that if you don't play my way, I will shit all over you. How incredibly mature for a 72 year old.

Whither Goes the Economy?

Lehman Brothers Holdings, Washington Mutual, American International Group, or Merrill Lynch, which will fail first? And don't forget I am predicting a big stock market crash in October. Greenspan is more or less predicting this. Don't forget what political party has been in power for the last 8 years. Yes, I know we gave the Dem's congress in 06, but with a vetoing president still in power and lacking the votes in the Senate to overcome a veto (remember those 250+ silent filibusters in the Senate), the Dem's have been powerless to change the course of the Republican Machine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


MSM is going with a new story: JOHN MCCAIN IS A LIAR.

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike is coming North, but tracking to the East, so we will have less severe weather here. Val tied up the porch swing as it tends to bang into the porch column, if it is left loose.

Ben thinks he might ride out the Hurricane in his fort. But we manage to convince him that there is a mandatory fort evacuation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jasmine is 13

Strawberry Sorbet--"ice cream" that Ben can eat.

We also made the cake so that Ben could have some--a vegan chocolate. Jasmine is planning a pool party with friends later in the month--when there are no hurricanes threatening.

Kitty Dog?

Ben calls this little dog "kitty dog" because it is small and the same color as the cat.

Ben in his play fort on this gray damp day in Texas.

Why Libertarians should vote for Obama

Marginal Revolution makes the case.

Bill Moyers in 1987

This is as fresh as today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Here I am in Texas. Robert is playing a video game in his room. Jasmine is at an 8th grade football game. I will pick up Jasmine and her friend later as Val is putting Ben to bed. Richard is working in his office.

Picture of Big Boy Ben who looks just like dad, Richard. They were playing ball in Richard's office

Monday, September 8, 2008


Trojan Moose

Arianna has a great article on the Trojan Moose that will bring us four more years of George Bush.
Her critics like to say that Palin hasn't accomplished anything. I disagree: in the space of ten days she's succeeded in distracting the entire country from the horrific Bush record -- and McCain's complicity in it. My friends, that's accomplishment we can believe in.

What's a Person to do?

We took our retirement and the 5 grandbabies college funds out of stocks and put it in bonds anticipating a further meltdown of the stock market, but with Fannie and Freddie devolving to junk this may cause a meltdown in the bond market. Can't win for losing. Remember back in March when the Bushes had Fannie and Freddie take out almost their entire capital reserve to prop up the housing market? That really helped a lot. We (the taxpayers) could be on the hook for a trillion or more! So both stocks and bonds may melt down and more banks are failing. Santa Barbara has designated a special parking lot for people who sleep in their cars. Santa Barbara? California has a 7.3 unemployment rate and that is just the ones who have not given up. Hunker down.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Whose Change?

both candidates continued to tout their ability to bring change to Washington. McCain called his ticket "a team of mavericks" and declared: "Change is coming! Change is coming!" Obama responded with an unusually robust attack: "This is coming from a party that's been in charge for eight years," he said. "What they're saying is, 'Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policies, and tax policies, and energy policies, and healthcare policies, and education policies, and Karl Rove-style politics, except for all that, we're really going to bring change to Washington.' "
Great quote from Ben Whitford of Slate

Charlie Brown Fundraiser

I went to a Charlie Brown for Congress Fundraiser last night. It was held at the local headquarters of the Flower Essence Society. Really a beautiful place. I thought of Val while walking around the grounds, she would have loved it there. I forgot my camera, so no pictures of the house, but the web had some of the grounds. Fountains, ponds with koi, tons of flowers, paths and arbors--quite amazing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Back To The Past

Great Frank Rich article in the NYT


I have viewed a video of a meeting of the Alaska Independence Party where the leader of the meeting states that Sarah Palin was a member of the AIP prior to her election as mayor and then governor and is sympathetic to the goals of this secessionist party.
youtube video
The reference to Palin begins at about 6 minutes in after some history of the party. This is a party that is actively working to secede from the union. I think this should be a problem for Sarah Palin.

Daddy Issues

Why are the Republicans doing a repeat of candidates with Daddy issues? Bush, raised by Barbara, never felt quite good enough for a largely absent father. He kept trying to outdo him. That's why we got into Iraq. McCain, raised by his mom, with a largely absent father. Never felt he quite lived up to his father. Never made Admiral. Now wants to be president and show he can win wars and more wars and more wars. Yeah!

Old Vetting on Palin

In O6 the Democrats compiled a lot of information on Palin in the runup to the Alaska Gubernatorial race. Gee, she comes off as authoritarian, profligate, and doctrinaire. What else is new?
Palin Used Part of the City’s Funds from the Alaska Revenue Sharing Fund to Fund Anti-Abortion Center.
Palin’s Management Style is to Bully and Demand Political Loyalty.
Palin left Wasilla in debt.
Long-Term Debt Was $3000 Per Capita When Palin Left, Compared to None Before She Was Mayor.

The Republicans who accused Obama of being the teleprompter master and not focusing on issues are singing the praises of this empty skirt.

New Yorker Cover

McCain is up to his knickers in the housing crisis.

Fannie and Freddie

1. Housing bill passed recently contained a provision for bailing out Fannie and Freddie.
2. Paulson (lied) when he said there was no immediate plan to use this authority.
3. Fannie and Freddie go into conservatorship.
4. The US taxpayer is now on the hook for the housing mess.

Privatized profits, socialized risk. The Republican way.

Friday, September 5, 2008

John Stewart: Right Again

John Stewart juxtaposes segments of John McCain's speech last night with G W's speech in 2000. Crazy sameness! His overall coverage of the Repub Convention has been right on.

Lying Numbers

Reports that 500,000 more people watched McCain's speech than watched Obama's did not include either PBS or CSPAN viewers. With those inclusions Obama was significantly ahead.

John McCain is Confident

According to Christine Todd Whitman, McCain is confident that Palin will be a good president, if necessary. Of course, why would he worry. He would be dead.

Palin Won't Do Press

So as we wait to see how Palin will do with real questions from real reporters, I am telling you she won't. After a week or so she may do some "interviews" with soft interviewers like Larry King or Faux ones like Hannity. But she won't ever do any real ones. Expectations for her in the VP debate will be low, so she may do OK. She may even wear a wire like Bush did in one of his. But no one will ever get anything from her but talking points and lying self-serving stump speeches before the elections. The Republicans can't afford to have her screw up, so they won't let the press have any access to her.

Why Is Dumb Better?

We need to quit with wanting a president just like us. We see where having a C student president has gotten us. Why do we need another president who was at the bottom of his class with a VP who had to go to 5 schools to get a degree in Journalism. We deserve a president who is not only a great leader and a great communicator but who is also smart. Read a funny take on this from Bill Maher.

Spreading Some Palin Dirt

Todd Palin’s former business partner, Scott A. Richter, who allegedly had an affair with Sarah Palin (according to the National Enquirer--remember they were right about Edwards) filed an emergency motion 9/3/08 to seal his divorce records, but it was denied yesterday.
The Palins own a few undeveloped properties on Safari Lake and Big Lake, Alaska in partnership with Scott A. Richter and his ex-wife Debbie under “Richter Investments LLC.” Debbie Richter was Palin’s campaign treasurer. Richter was awarded a job as the Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division for her service. The State of Alaska gives its citizens “free money” checks every year out of this fund. This “free money” comes from oil royalties collected and investments. The Fund is currently worth $35 billion. Under Sarah and Debbie’s leadership, all Permanent Fund claims from residents (you have to make a claim for your check) were lost in a computer data entry failure according to courtrecords.alaska.gov.


I have written about this before. Democrats say that people do not like negativity and do not do character assassination themselves. But the negativity and character assassination that Republicans do every four years does work. The average voter does believe the character assassination. McCain has said this will be a personality contest.
Every four years, the GOP unleashes unrestrained personality attacks on Democrats and exploits cultural resentments. Every four years, Democrats tell themselves that such attacks don't work and are counter-productive. And every four years, that belief is disproven. These "character" issues end up mattering largely because Democrats, in election after election, allow wars over "character" to be waged in a largely one-sided fashion.

Glen Greenwald

I think the Democrats at least need to point out the shear volume of lies and smears that the Republicans spout with every breath. I think they need to point out that Palin is Bush in a skirt! She is Phyllis Schlafly running for VP.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bogus Poll

The latest CBS Poll that shows the election 42/42 is bogus in that the sample includes 1/3 Republicans, 1/3 Democrats and 1/3 Independents. The Nationwide distribution of voters is 51% Democrats, 37% Republicans and 12% Independents. Imagine how the survey would look if the true proportion of voters was included. Duh.

Moore Film for Free

Michael Moore plans to release his new film for free online starting on September 23rd. To receive the download, people can sign up at SlackerUprising.com.

Give Until It Hurts

Give if you value Freedom.

Are You Ready For Four More Years

More Republican years will mean first of all the criminalization of all abortion via the addition of one or more right wing justices to the Supreme Court. This will lead to more unwanted, abandoned, abused children and more future criminals. More death from illegal abortions. More women criminalized for having abortions. Doctors won't be doing abortions any more. You will find back alley practitioners with little medical skill dealing in the death of all involved. Death will be the penalty for a mistake or a rape. And with the designation of many common birth control measures as abortion--birth control pills, coils, shots--there will be many more unintended pregnancies. With the use of condoms derided as ineffective and the teaching of abstinence as the only way, there will be even more unintended pregnancies. The poor will drown in children with no help.
Because Republicans believe you should help yourself and get no help from the taxpayers, these unintended children will get no support. AFDC will be cut away. Forget Food Stamps and any help for teen pregnancy. Remember how Sarah cut teen pregnancy programs. Help yourself. And if you cannot you can just starve and die. Maybe a church will help you.
Republicans want to have the ultimate laissez-faire state. Deregulation. That is what business thinks it wants. Just cook your food well-done. Just read the fine print on your mortgage, loan, insurance, and other financial papers. Do your own investigation of the safety of what you buy. Now that's a hard one.
Laissez-faire means more free trade. Fewer jobs at home. Most people's wages go down. A few people get rich and pay less in taxes. Laissez-faire would mean the total destruction of the middle class. There would be rich, super rich, and poor.
The elderly on fixed incomes are slipping into poverty. Inflation in energy and by extension food and everything else is hitting the elderly hard.
But the ultimate plan of the Republicans is to privatize Social Security. That will flush it down the toilet. Along with the elderly.
Medicare will be next on the chopping block. The cost cutting measure will be to drop the payments to MD's and hospitals until doctors will not accept Medicare patients--seen in some areas right now. Then Medicare will be worthless and seniors will have to pay high prices for medical care or go without. So the rich and super rich will have access to our superior medical system and the poor will just die. Go to the ER to be pronounced Dead. How will the powers that be blame the poor for our worsening longevity? "Damn poor people don't take care of themselves."
The Republican's health care plan for the nation includes the plank that the portion of your health care insurance paid for by your employer will be added to your taxable income. WooHoo that is some tax increase. Then we get a $2,500 tax credit to buy insurance? I just added up what we pay for health insurance including LTC insurance right now--over 6K and this will increase as we begin to fully pay for Medicare B for both of us. And the amount we pay for our pretty good insurance is subsidized by Wm's former employer by about 1/2 or maybe more. We will pay taxes on all that?
And this is just a bit of the problem. Small businesses will suffer as only large corporations can weather this type of economy.
What is the answer from Republicans? Drill, Drill, Drill.
the sooner Americans realize that Governor Palin is just the latest floor model representing everything loathsome and menacing about Reaganomics and the failed policies of the Bush administration, the sooner voters will be equipped with the proper evidence to prevent the same disasters from happening all over again.
Bob Cesca

Men's Camping Trip

Bill, Frank, Barry and Eric are off on the annual men's camping trip. This year they chose Butte Lake in Lassen Park. Looks like a lovely spot for the kayaks. We did not do any camping this year. One problem was all the smoke from fires. The air looks clear now, but fire season is not really over yet. There has been no rain since March or so and won't be any until probably November.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McCain Comedy

Listen to a funny audio from 23/6: McCain's Voice Mail Message to Sarah Palin.

Wildlife in Colorado

A reminder that Colorado is wild country: While we were down in the basement watching TV in Boulder the night before we left, Cyndi went out to the garage to feed Maggie the cat. When she came down she had quite a story for us. A raccoon had gotten in the garage. She chased it out herself and then it stuck its head back in the cat door wanting back in. She had to lock the cat door, trapping Maggie in for the night. We all had wondered why Maggers had been howling so loudly. We thought she was just very hungry. I think Cyndi was very brave to chase off the raccoon all by herself.

The night before, Cyndi and I were sitting on the back deck when we heard an owl hooting. Cyndi said it lived in the trees/bushes at the back of their lot between their house and Billie Blue's. According to the Daily Camera it is probably a Western Screech Owl, a small owl common in suburban neighborhoods.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Axel waves bye-bye to Grandma as Robbin and I prepare to depart. We took the bus to the airport and had a good flight back to Sacramento on Frontier.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Colorado Rockies Game

Today we saw the Colorado Rockies demolish the SF Giants, umpteen to nothing. We took the bus as the Subaru is on the fritz. So Robbin, Leah, the baby and I took the little car to the bus stop and Jon and Cyndi rode the bikes. On the way home in the car Mr. No Nap Axel was just muttering "baseball game, baseball game."

No Right Wing Musicians?

Now Van Halen is mad about the use of their song "Right Now" in the intro to Palin. Why can't the Republicans use their own musicians or get permission to use music? Why not just use some Christian Rock? There is a lot of that.