Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gas and Oil Go Together Like a Lance and Boil

ATL gas is at $1.75.

AND . . . Oil is less than $55.00.

It is fuel for a recovery!
My old pal Mitt wrote a great piece for the NYT saying that GM et al should go through Chapter 11 if they want a bail out. Hear hear! Read it HERE. Go ahead. It's not as boring as it sounds. Mitt can write, too!

Mitt knows Money!

Have you noticed that Mitt is way smarter than Sarah Palin? I wonder if little old John McCain has noticed? Mitt for Treasury!!!!

The poet in John's heart.

Onward to Senior Statesman status!

Regrets, I've had a few . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is This True?

Oct 05, 2008The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge. The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" has translated the story.It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband when the airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a 100 surcharge:When it was finally Mary’s turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her."Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.Who was the man?Barack Obama.Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign:-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him:In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.And Obama replied:In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes:‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States Senator’.The parents sent the letter on to Mary.Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election, especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the story of the kind man who helped out a stranger-in-need over twenty years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office.Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in the maelstorm of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right now.UPDATE: Thanks for the recommends, folks! Also, remember this was 1988, when 100 dollars was quite a bit of money, compared to today's value.By the way, this would be the perfect antidote to the Smear E-mails going around. If anyone has a good long email chain list, shoot it out, and let it be passed along.
Posted by Miss Caldonia at 7:13 PM
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Giving Money to Addicts

Ever since Ross Perot ran for President, I've just loved charts.

Bad news, well presented.

Amid the world-wide economic turmoil, my own private economic meltdown has been keeping me occupied, at the expense of this blog. But in the past few days some positive signs have got me feeling better! Still, actual cash would be even more appreciated.
Among our favorite columnists today, Billy "William" Kristol, legacy Harvard PhD and writer for either the Weekly Standard or the New York Times, or both, seems on the verge of some actual soul searching regarding conservatives' obsession with so-called "free" markets. Of course, a conservative's idea of a free market isn't really "free" at all. It is all dependent on various government constructs and police enforcement of made-up property rights. Take away those government interferences and we'll see a real free market. But that would be too scary.
Kristol hints at a rethinking of the innumerable and very obvious misconceived premises of recent economic thinking. Perhaps he is responding to an inadvertent personal glimpse of real life he's recently experienced, and realized that not all of us enjoy cradle to grave economic security. That real people suffer real consequences when jobs are lost. Or maybe he's just thinking in terms of realpolitik, that a cold and hungry Reagan Democrat will become a cold and hungry New Deal Democrat pretty quickly.

Hmmm. Squeezing my head makes my brain work better.

For these conservatives, letting the homos get married suddenly doesn't seem to matter quite so much when their money is swirling down the drain.

Of course, I don't know William Kristol. He seems pleasant enough on tv. But he's influential. And his public voice has helped lead public opinion of the elites that read the two rags he writes for down the wrong paths for several years now. So he deserves some serious criticism.

Likewise Alan Greenspan. I was stunned when he testified to Congress that he was surprised that banks and financial institutions did not "institutionally" impose more actively conservative risk management policies in their investments. Is he kidding? Can he possibly be that naive? The word "stupid" is in my head, but that can't be right. Can it? The folks who run these places are there to make money. For themselves. Did he not get that?

Oops. Sorry.

Markets are made of people. Institutions are made of people. People are not rational. People are selfish. People have agendas. Loyalty to their employer is way down the priority list, if on it at all, for most people. Investment executives are in their positions to "drive personal wealth." Their own. That is why executive pay, like structured financial deals, should ideally "align interests" of all the stakeholders involved. Of course, this doesn't happen that often. BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE AGENDAS! So, they negotiate unobvious advantages for themselves into deals. Advantages like shifting all the risk to the sucker who provides the money. Thanks to the various recent bailouts, that sucker is now us. Thank you Congress!
I'm glad we learned from that Iraq War fiasco not to let fear rush us into imprudent action. These bailouts are obviously well thought out. What's the exit strategy again?

Free markets are a myth. We need fair and honest markets.
Banks and corporations are government creatures. Being government creatures makes these institutions subject to government restrictions. This doesn't have to cost a lot or even involve a lot of regulation. We can do it the conservative way, by unregulating!

Want to ease the pain of AIG's exposure to credit default swaps? Pass a law that the government will not enforce or aid in the enforcement of any credit default swap that was not given under applicable insurance regulations and has a proven insurable interest. Hah! What would happen then? I don't know because I can't find that anybody has modeled the results of this scenario. But it seems pretty obvious that nobody has modeled what is going to happen by having our civil courts available to enforce these illegal insurance contracts, and to pour hundreds of billions of tax dollars into AIG to honor them. That we are doing this without understanding the consequences, good or bad, is just plain crazy.

I do not want my taxes used for this. This is one screwed up mess.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This is the first time in my life that I have ever seen an election cause people to dance in the streets.