Sunday, November 23, 2008

Amen Corner

I'm not the biggest Cramer fan in the worled, but his comments, recorded in Stan Yee's post here, echo my thinking. Two of the best things Obama can do to right the sinking ship of Wall Street are get rid of Chris Cox, head of the SEC, and bring back the up-tick rule.

Bottom line: "You want order restored, the markets to work again, an end to the endless sowing of fear? Then bring back the rules we put in place to avoid another Great Crash. The uptick rule wasn't broken, but the SEC 'fixed' it and put the 'fix' in for the shorts. It's time to give the longs back a level playing field, stop the rigging of the market by the shorts, and bring capitalism, not capital destruction, back to our markets."


I've posted (below) on the need to re-regulate and Cramer just reinforces my opinion there, on the up-tick rule. Chris Cox is Reagan-Republic, Laffer Curve, trickle-down, cut-the-tax kinda guy; just what we DON'T need in the current debacle. As with most Bush appointments, he was long on Bushie dogma and short on clues.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stevens Out

AP has called (finally) the AK Senate race for Begich. Looks like no recount, unless Stevens ponies up for one. His co-conspirators errrr friends can spring for that, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Liars' Poker Tournament of Champions

Kevin points to Michael Lewis' piece in Portfolio, online here. Great article about what a clusterfuck the credit/debt/debt derivative/debt derivative derivative debacle (say that three times fast!) truly is. For my response, see my post below on the Zach's article. And add public executions.

Begich Ahead

Looks like MAYBE Sen. Seven Count Felon won't be heading back to DC, except for his appeal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yeesh!

I've been spending a lot more time recently reading financial blogs and sites than political, simply because the business side of my life picked back up. There's as much crap in the financial noise machine as in the political, and in my oh so humble opinion, a lot less useful, thoughtful, informative or insightful posting. I'm not going to draw conclusions (at least not where colleagues or co-workers might see them!)

However, that said, there's a lot of good stuff out there. One such is an article from Zack's that examines what has happened and why. Like much of the stuff on Zack's, it ultimately turns into a pitch to buy a report, sign up for a newletter, or other commercial drivel. In this case, thought, it does not render it any less insightful.

Basically, he notes that the repealing of Glass-Steagal and the passing of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act are the root of most of the problems. While he doesn't go so far as to call for a return to Glass-Steagal and extirpation of the CFMA (and Phil Gramm, too, PLEASE!), I will. We need to absolutely separate the banking and investing (and insurance) realms of the financial world from one another, or we'll be going through this every fifteen or twenty years.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dean to Step Down from DNC?

Imagine How Bad It Would Be...

...if Bush were actually doing anything!

Steve Benen, discussing the latest Gallup:

Seventy-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday disapprove of how George W. Bush is handling his job as President. That's an all-time high in CNN polling, or in Gallup polling dating back to World War II.

"No other president's disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating."

In fact, the Nixon comparison is illustrative in its severity. Nixon, exposed as a criminal and in the midst of becoming the only president to ever resign from office in disgrace, was 10 points more popular than Bush is now.

This is the First Ever Episode.....

... of What BooMan Said!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

WTF?

The WSJ editorial pages have been insane for a long time, and with the consumption of DJ by Murdoch and Newscorp, I expected it to become certifiable. Steve Benen points to a piece today that may prove my expectations to be optimistic.

WE LET BUSH DOWN.... A friend emailed me last night, telling me that this op-ed from the Wall Street Journal may very well be the single most foolish op-ed ever published in a major American newspaper. That's obviously a difficult standard to live up to, so I was skeptical.

And then I read it. I think my friend was on to something.

The piece was written by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, whose work I'm unfamiliar with, but who the WSJ identifies as an "investigative reporter and lawyer." His argument is fairly straightforward: the disgrace of the last eight years wasn't Bush's presidency, but rather, how mean we've all been to him.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

Got that? Bush didn't fail Americans; Americans failed Bush. When his presidency became farcical, and his failures became overwhelming, it was the American people who were "disloyal." Presumably, the electorate was supposed to stand proudly behind the president, regardless of his actual job performance.

To hear Shapiro tell it, we should not only be ashamed of ourselves for noting Bush's countless failures, but we should also begin to realize that Bush is better than us. Indeed, our failures -- not Bush's -- have literally made us less safe, because our enemies have noticed the president's low approval ratings.

I've seen some bizarre arguments over the years, but I've never seen anything quite like this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More on Prop 8

As in all les choses gais, John Aravosis has the good coverage. Good post on the lawsuit filed today to rescind Prop 8. Explains why it really may not be valid, legal, etc. Kewl!

Prop 8 Melancholy

I've been sitting here torn between overall euphoria at last night's results and depression over the success of Prop 8. As is often the case, BillinPortland, at Cheers and Jeers brought my mood up:

JEERS to...

Proposition 8. Even in the face of iron-clad, incontrovertible proof that gay marriages won’t do diddly to straight marriages, Californians proved last night that they could be persuaded by Utah---yes, polygamist Utah!---to hit themselves over the head with the dumbstick and make inequality and discrimination constitutional. Think about that: many of the same voters who chose to tear down the ultimate barrier (the presidency) for one minority voted to create a barrier against another. Gee, thanks for the whiplash. If there is any silver lining it is this: civil unions will continue to be approved at the state level across the country, and the federal government now has the muscle to pass some gay-friendly bills (and repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). Oh, and it's worth reminding ourselves, no matter how bitter we feel this morning: civil rights struggles are always a marathon, not a sprint.

I've been embarrassed by my electoral cohorts only twice (annoyed with them, often; embarrasesed, only twice.) The first time was the Texas gubernatorial election in which the totally unqualified, totally uncool W ousted our totally cool, totally qualified governor, Ann Richards. The second time was last night, when my fellow Californians opted to legalize hate and discrimination, guided by a bunch of religious FREAKS!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Filibusterproof Senate

Looks like this isn't going to happen. One recommendation I would make to Sen Reid and the leadership is to change whatever the agreement is that lets the minority filibuster painlessly. As I understand it, the oppo leader (the apparently re-elected and all to apparently execrable Mitch McConnell) can let the Maj Leader know they are going to filibuster and boom, the bill(s) to be filibustered are just magically shunted onto the ashheap of history.

Make the obstreperous bastards stand there in their Depends and babble until they pass out or give in or the majority surrenders. Let America SEE the obstruction. Make the filibusterer pay the price and not be able to just assassinate bills from the shadow, without attribution or cost.

Just my cranky side speaking out, but it makes sense to me, cranky or not.

Election Day Summary (Ongoing)

415pm PST MSNBC has called Vermont for Obama and KY for McCain.
McConnell currently slightly behind in KY Sen race. Dole apparently DOA.
MSNBC called VA Sen for Warner.

425pm Steve Benen at Politcal Animal has a good point:

Polls are also now closed in Indiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, all of which are too close to call.

I'd just add that four years ago, some of these states -- most notably Indiana and South Carolina -- were called by the networks immediately. Not this year.

437PM MSNBC backpedalling somewhat on Dole-Hagen in NC (too close to call). GA Sen and KY Sen still too close to call.

501PM MSNBC calls PA for Obama. IL for Obama (ya think?) MA and NJ for Obama. TN for McCain. OK for McCain (but who gives a crap? (sorry, I'm a native Texan ;) ) NH & ME &DE for Obama. Puts Obama up 103-34. Chris Matthews says McCain is dead ('his strategy has crashed')

502PM With 15% in, Obama has a good sized lead in FL.

505PM MSNBC calls NH Sen for Shaheen, ME Sen for Collins.

531PM MSNBC calls NC for Hagen! Go Godless Americans!! AL for McCain.

547PM Somewhere they called GA for McCain and I missed it.

RANDOM OBSERVATION: Let's change the term 'talking head' to 'babbling head'.... IYEE

627PM Sorry, I was fixing dinner.... MSNBC calls OH for Obama. If that holds, and if Obama's lead holds up (likely) in FL, that's the election; the remaining leans can't overcome the remaining solids to push McCain anywhere close....

631PM And now they call NM for Obama

645PM And NM Sen for Udall

700PM And IOWA!!!! for Obama

Shays concedes in CT House... No Repubs in NE House bloc

800PM This should be it.

801PM With CA, OR, WA, & HI, Obama is now over 270. Now it's all about running up the margins! Congrats to the Obama team for a masterful job!

811PM AP reports McCain has made 'the call' to Obama congratulating him on his victory.

825PM McCain shows more class in this ten minute concession speech than in his entire campaign.

828PM I haven't seen/heard an announcement but it looks like Mark Udall won in the CO Sen race.

907PM GREAT Speech by PRESIDENT ELECT OBAMA! Just keeping repeating that phrase and smile!!






Sunday, November 02, 2008

Predictions

here we go... I know you're breathlessly waiting my fearless predictions for Tuesday.

Presidential
Obama 350+ Electoral Votes

Senate
Dems 59+ Seats (would LOVE to see 61-62)

House
Dems 30+ SeatPickup

Local Interest
While not feeling any certainty at this point, I think Californians will reject Prop 8, if narrowly. It's just too odious for most people.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Calprops

Okay, here are my recommendations on the various Propositions on the California ballot Tuesday, with comments where I have any. In general, I have the philosophy that unless I have a strong feeling for, or knowledge about, a proposition, I'm opposed to it until or unless something convinces me otherwise. Mostly, they are special actions by special interests to enact something the majority doesn't know or care about, and if there's a strong emotional groundswell, it probably just means it's exceptionally bad (see 1978 and Prop 13 which lowered property taxes and fucked up the entire California economy ever since!)

Prop 1A High Speed Rail NO
Good Issue, bad approach, wrong time

Prop 2 Feed Animal Protection No opinion (so probably NO)
Don't know enough to make an informed decision, feel-good ads make me nervous

Prop 3 Children's Hospital Bonds NO
Good issue, good approach, wrong time

Prop 4 Parental Abortion Notification NO
When are the anti-abortion nuts going to realize they've lost?

Prop 5 Drug Offender Rehab Plan YES
Good idea, maybe bad approach, but we need to do SOMETHING- start this then amend it if needed, but get some movement going

Prop 6 Law Enforcement Funding/Tough on Crime Scam NO

Prop 7 Renewable Energy Mandate NO
GREAT IDEA, horrible approach

Prop 8 Gay Marriage Constitutional Rights Grab by Mormons Scam NO
Don't get me start on how bad this one is! We'll be here til election day!

Prop 9 Victim's Family's Rights Bill NO
Sorry, in the criminal process, victims don't have rights, they're non-participants.
If they want rights, that's why there's a CIVIL court system!

Prop 10 Alternative Fuel Bond Bill NO
Boone Pickens doesn't need MY money, I need his!

Prop 11 Redistricting Reform YES
See arguments for 5- GREAT IDEA, iffy approach, but dammit, we need to start
somewhere.

Prop 12 Veterans' Mortgage Bond YES
Okay idea, should be zero cost in long term

The one prop I would vote for, no matter when offered or who proposed it, is a proposition that would banish the initiative and proposition forever!!!!!

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