Archive for September, 2008

30
Sep
08

Relax

Ok.  The markets are up 380 points.  There was rebound.  Still, scary but I am relaxing a little.

 

Someone sent me this and it helps put it in perspective:

 

By MarketWatch

Last update: 12:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 30, 2008

ANNANDALE, Va. (MarketWatch) – A little historical context, please.

Monday’s market plunge may have been the worst point drop ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average , but in percentage terms it came nowhere close. It dropped 7% on Monday, or just one-third as much as the 22.6% decline in the 1987 crash.

 

In fact, there have been 16 other occasions since the Dow was created in 1896 in which the Dow’s percentage drop was greater than it was Monday. That works out to an average of every seven years

 

Catch that.  7 year cycle.  Weird.  There’s that theory that our bodies regenerate cells every 7 years.  We have the 7th inning stretch and the 7 year itch.

 

While it certainly makes me feel better, there is more to this than just a cycle, though.  There has to be something done.  If markets are like our bodies and are on a cycle, then maybe they are like our bodies in that if we overeat and don’t regulate our behavior we get fat and have a heart attack.  The market has been binging on bundled sub-prime mortgages which I guess are kinda like double cheeseburgers.  We should have seen this coming and done something about it sooner.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  But, now the patient is in the emergency room.  Stabelized maybe, but not out of the woods.

29
Sep
08

hominy

The House didn’t pass the bailout.  It is all politics.  No one wants to run for reelection saying they gave a non-elected, Bush administration official control over $700 billion.  I get it.  It doesn’t seem to be a good platform to run on.  Still, something has to be done. 

So now the markets are plunging.  People keep bringing up ’29.  I’m freaking. 

Wall Street is freaking.  Most of us out here on “Main Street” don’t really know what’s going on or how it effects us.  It is a major crisis, will Still President Bush tell us to go shopping again?

Not sure if should go to the ATM and get some cash to go under my mattress, but I feel like I should stock up on hominy.

28
Sep
08

Sunday Morning Politics

Special dispensation was given this morning to lift the moratorium on Sunday morning politics since Obama was on Face the Nation.  After watching, I realize I am in no position to write a review of how he did.  Of course I think he did well; I agree with him.  Asked about the bailout, he said that they have put in place the things he was most concerned about: oversight, help for homeowners, no golden parachutes.  Bob Schieffer walked him through critiquing the debate, touching on the things that had been mentioned in media reviews.  He asked him about McCain repeatedly saying that Obama didn’t understand.  Obama smiled and said it was a debating tactic but that McCain never went on to explain how he didn’t understand.  Then Schieffer asked him why he didn’t answer the question in the debate regarding what he would have to cut from his platform because of the financial crisis.  Obama explained, as he did in the debate, that things may be delayed but that we really do not know what the situation will be in January.

 

 I think Obama is smart.  He thinks and considers things.  That appeals to me.  I want a smart guy in the White House.  Maybe it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I just don’t get that.  I don’t get the thing about voting for the person you would most like to have a beer with.  Seriously, go to a bar, look around, and tell me which one you would want running your country.

 

The debate did not change anyone’s mind.  It may have strengthened one’s view of their choice, but it didn’t sway.  Why do I think this?  Anecdotal polling.  I couldn’t figure out why casual acquaintances were asking me if I watched the debate on Saturday morning until I remembered that I had on my Obama ’08 t-shirt.  They would ask what I thought and I would tell them.  Then they would say they didn’t watch – it’s too early for that.  What!?!  I’ve been wrapped up in this for over a year!  Wait.  Weren’t the primaries important?  The country is in meltdown mode and you’re not going to think about who should be president until closer to the election?  Really?  What are you waiting for?

 

In my heart, I think we will come out of this economic crisis.  It is hard to imagine that things could get as bad as ’29.  I remember my grandmother telling me that all she had to eat one Thanksgiving was a can of hominy.  Can any of us really wrap our mind around that?  I watched the roundtable discussion on This Week.  It was alarming.  You know things are fubar when George Will makes sense to me and Robert Reich and Newt Gingrich agree.  George Will pointed out that the populace is childish, spending more than we have.  Another panel member agreed, pointing out how we used to say that Washington should be like families and balance their budgets.  Instead, families have become like Washington.  No one was thrilled with the bailout, but all know something has to be done.  There is oversight in the plan now and some help for homeowners, but it is still a hell of a lot of money going to help people that screwed up and screwed others.  Can we say regulation now? 

 

Then there is my boy.  Bless him.  He gets lectured only to talk during the commercials because I want to hear every word.  He gets to hear the debate about the bailout.  Then he gets stopped before he clears the table.  I put my hand on his arm and tell him to look at his plate and point out that he put more on his plate than he ate.  I tell him it is serious, that we should not waste anything.  I think he thinks I am just weird.  (He’s surely right.)  But, I’m also serious.  Sometimes I can almost taste hominy when I think about it.

26
Sep
08

my own pundit

 

I hear the others in their talking, but I’m going to be my own pundit.  Some will say that McCain won, some Obama.  But, I think Obama came across much stronger and clearer.  One of the first reasons is that he answered the questions without trying to get back to the handholds of catchphrases.  McCain started off very strong in the catchphrase category and then tapered back.  I counted 8 phrases:

 

We went to Washington to change Washington, but it changed us.

Not sure if the bear DNA study was criminal or paternity

Will veto bills with earmarks, – make them famous and you will know their names

Not voted Ms. Congeniality (hit this one twice)

Obama has most liberal voting record

Snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory

Looked in Putin’s eyes and say a K, a G and a B

He doesn’t require on the job training

 

I will also add two possible new ones: Can’t get there from here and can’t allow a second holocaust.

 

He told more stories of people coming up to him – braclet from mother of soldier and mother at airport. 

 

He continually said that Obama “doesn’t’ get it” – but it made it seem more that he doesn’t get it.

 

Obama was strong.  Seemed to lay our positions clearly.  He didn’t let McCain get away with mischaracterizing the issues – especially pointing out that earmarks, while a problem, are not the main issue. 

 

He was clear on what he feels must be done when he is president, even given the economic crisis.  He admitted that there would be delays on things, but listed energy independence, fuel efficient vehicles, healthcare, education and infrastructure, including the electric grid. 

 

Both want to cut spending.  Yet, when McCain talks about cutting spending and reducing the role of government I can’t help but think of the Norquist line about shrinking it until it can be drowned in the bathtub.  Obama pointed out again that we spend $10 Billion in Iraq a month while they have a $79 million surplus. 

 

Obama was good on Iraq, pointing out that the war didn’t start with the surge and that we had lost sight of our true cause by focusing on Iraq instead of Afghanistan. 

 

Both got important points in, although it took a while.   37 minutes in until McCain mentioned Palin, 57 minutes until he invoked Reagan.  It wasn’t until the very last questioned that he got to mention being in “prison.”.  Obama got in his dad coming to America for the American dream on the last question.

 

25
Sep
08

October surprise

Is someone anticipating an October surprise? 

 

I received an email with a story about the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team being deployed at home. Huh? Sounded fishy but it is reported on the Army Times website.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/

Here is a quote that comes halfway into the article: “They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.”
Civil unrest? Crowd control?
The email I received pointed out that this would be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 that prohibits military from performing law enforcement. The Army Times article explains they will be here to respond to natural or manmade disasters, but isn’t that the National Guard’s job?
It just seems strange. And creepy.

25
Sep
08

Witch hunt?

Ok, I know. This is from Countdown and Oberman is anything but objective. That stipulated, this clip is nonetheless alarming.

Some will take this as a positive. I know the people that still attend the church that I grew up in will. Every Mother’s Day and Easter I grit my teeth and try to decide where the line is that would cause me to bolt. I have to weigh hurting my mother’s feelings against them praying for Israel. Don’t even get me started about sitting through them singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” one dreadful Veteran’s Day. I grew up in an evangelical church and attended what I lovingly call “God School” based through the church. We were told to be Warriors for God. We never talked about my hometown being the last bastion of refuge during the tribulation, but we were shown very scary end-times movies where people got their heads chopped off. So, while all the rhetoric may be just that, just symbolism, it seems they have crossed over the line in Alaska.

This scares me. This is not and was never a Christian Nation. The nation was founded on the principles that allow everyone to believe as they see fit. Blurring the line between god and government is just simply unacceptable and as scary as those tribulation movies were when I was 8.

My personal opinions aside, how well was Gov. Palin vetted? Did this stuff come up at all? Did they not realize that big churches are known to film all the services? This is not a question of Palin’s credibility but McCain’s. Can we trust this guy to make sound decisions?

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24
Sep
08

i own wall street!

I have one thing in common with John McCain. The economy is not my strong suit. I have been trying to understand the current situation in the financial markets. It is confusing. To me it looks like people did really stupid things like loaning people money when they knew that they couldn’t repay it – then sold them bundled as safe securities. Now, we can’t let everything collapse. Yeah, ok. Like in Monopoly – the player that puts all their money into a hotel on Boardwalk and then wipes out on your Marvin Gardens. He sells off his hotel and ends up paying you off with Boardwalk. The thing is, in Monopoly, I own Boardwalk after he crashes and burns. Now, it looks like Henry Paulson will own Boardwalk, but pay for it with my money. And I can’t question what he decides to do with and perhaps would see no interest at all from my investment. Huh? See, I go back to a game created during the Great Depression to describe our most catastrophic recession and I still can’t really get it.

As always, Jon Stewart seems to explain things better.

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And Stephen Colbert explains why we should worry about the panic on Capital Hill.

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