How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.
Wilmington made history recently by becoming the first US city to make the switch to digital television. I watched the ceremony on the local news. It was spectacularly lame. A bunch of suits gathered in a stuffy conference room in front of a giant cardboard prop that looked like an enormous light switch. The top was labeled "Analog" and the bottom was labeled "Digital." The switch was flipped to Analog. There was a poorly synchronized countdown and when they hit zero, someone pushed the shaky handle to Digital. There was a blip on the screen, everyone applauded, and that was that. Or so they thought.
Paulsen and congressional Republicans, or the few that will actually vote for this (most will be unwilling to take responsibility for the consequences of their policies), have said that there can't be any "add ons," or addition provisions. Fuck that. I don't really want to trigger a world wide depression (that's not hyperbole, that's a distinct possibility), but I'm not voting for a blank check for $700 billion for those mother fuckers.
Nancy [Pelosi] said she wanted to include the second "stimulus" package that the Bush Administration and congressional Republicans have blocked. I don't want to trade a $700 billion dollar giveaway to the most unsympathetic human beings on the planet for a few fucking bridges. I want reforms of the industry, and I want it to be as punitive as possible.
Henry Waxman has suggested corporate government reforms, including CEO compensation, as the price for this. Some members have publicly suggested allowing modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, and the House Judiciary Committee staff is also very interested in that. That's a real possibility.
We may strip out all the gives to industry in the predatory mortgage lending bill that the House passed last November, which hasn't budged in the Senate, and include that in the bill. There are other ideas on the table but they are going to be tough to work out before next week.
I also find myself drawn to provisions that would serve no useful purpose except to insult the industry, like requiring the CEOs, CFOs and the chair of the board of any entity that sells mortgage related securities to the Treasury Department to certify that they have completed an approved course in credit counseling. That is now required of consumers filing bankruptcy to make sure they feel properly humiliated for being head over heels in debt, although most lost control of their finances because of a serious illness in the family. That would just be petty and childish, and completely in character for me.
I'm open to other ideas, and I am looking for volunteers who want to hold the sons of bitches so I can beat the crap out of them.
Too bad he or she is anonymous because that's one Democrat who deserves a political contribution. If only half of them had that kind of attitude we might actually get somewhere.
"A lot of those people will have to sell their homes, they're going to cut back on the private jets and the vacations. They may even have to take their kids out of private school," said Frank. "It's a total reworking of their lifestyle."
He added that it's going to be no easy task.
"It's going to be very hard psychologically for these people," Frank said. "I talked to one guy who had to give up his private jet recently. And he said of all the trials in his life, giving that up was the hardest thing he's ever done."
Let's be clear about what this is really all about. After spending two terms inventing reasons to go to war, letting poor people literally rot in the streets, and destroying the economy, this is Bush's last chance to steal our money and give it to his rich cronies. Republicans know that they are going to lose this election. The are not going to control the White House, the House of Representatives, or the Senate. The good old days of stealing from the poor to give to the rich are nearly over, so this is their plan: finally drive the country deep enough in debt to prevent the Democrats from fixing health care or otherwise helping anybody in need. They would love nothing more than to bankrupt the country for their own stupid ideology.
The idea of handing the Bush Administration a $700,000,000,000 blank check is absolutely ludicrous. Remember, these are the fine folks who not only brought you the Iraq War but assured you that it would pay for itself. How's that working out? Now they want us to believe that, hey! You never know! Government might just turn a profit on this bail out! Just how fucking stupid do they think we are?
Paulson and his asshole Republican friends like John Boehner are all over TV bitching how they want a "quick" and "clean" bill and how this is "not the time for partisan politics." Translation: "Just pony up seven hundred billion dollars and don't ask too many goddamn questions about it." If, after seven years of standing idly by and watching the Republican Party shit all over this country, Democrats still don't have the balls to stand up and ram some real fucking reform down their throats before bailing their sorry asses out of this mess, then what the hell did we elect them majority of both houses for?
Fucking grow a pair, Democrats. DO NOT FALL FOR IT AGAIN.
At a minimum, I think this bail out has to include three things:
(1) Giving government the power to restructure mortgages so that rather than a bunch of defaulted loans and foreclosed properties people actually get affordable payments that let them keep their homes. Financial sector doesn't like it? Fuck 'em, I guess they don't need our seven hundred billion dollars after all.
(2) Government gets a stake in the equity of bailed-out financial institutions and doesn't just buy their otherwise unsellable bad debt, so that when they start to profit again -- because you know they fucking will -- we benefit.
(3) Punishment and humiliation for the assholes who created this problem.
and e-mail to your Senators and Representatives in Congress. What they are trying to do here is fucking ridiculous.
I am writing in opposition to the proposed $700,000,000,000 taxpayer bail out of the financial sector, at least in its current form. I think it would be outrageous for the taxpayers to simply purchase toxic debt from the private sector while getting nothing in return and doing nothing to help the people who are most in need. The financial sector created this bad debt and it needs to clean up its own mess to the largest possible extent. There are other approaches, such as those proposed by Sebastian Mallaby of the New York Times and Doug Elmendorf of the Brookings Institution (essentially buying equity in financial institutions, instead of buying their "assets"), that would infuse capital into the financial sector without sticking the government with hundreds of billions of dollars of worthless debt and without rewarding bad actors on Wall Street by simply buying away their self-made problems. At an absolute minimum, public money must come with sufficient strings attached to ensure that this kind of mess can never be created again and that greedy and irresponsible executives are not rewarded with millions of dollars while the taxpayers foot the bill.
We have been down this road before of voting on hugely consequential legislation without sufficient consideration or debate in response to a Bush Administration "crisis" (see, for example, the PATRIOT Act). I will be sorely disappointed in Congress if you do not take the time to get this legislation right. The current proposal does not do nearly enough to fix the underlying problems. I agree with Paul Krugman, who has written that the plan "looks like an attempt to restore confidence in the financial system . . . simply by buying assets off these institutions. This will only work if the prices Treasury pays are much higher than current market prices; that, in turn, can only be true either if this is mainly a liquidity problem — which seems doubtful — or if Treasury is going to be paying a huge premium, in effect throwing taxpayers’ money at the financial world. And there’s no quid pro quo here — nothing that gives taxpayers a stake in the upside, nothing that ensures that the money is used to stabilize the system rather than reward the undeserving."
I urge you to oppose the current proposed bailout.
I got a £15 itunes voucher and for the life of me I don't know what to get. I wanted to spend the money on artists, songs, albums etc that arent so mainstream but I'm not ruling anything out. I feel my fellow Muckers and you, our fabulous readers, are the perfect resource to getting my money's worth.
Look forward to seeing you in comments, and I'll let you know what songs I choose (OH JOY!).
Well, the good ol' USA economy went on a major binge recently and got allkindsof fucked up. I'm personally having a hard time sorting out the politics. I mean, first the government bails out Fannie and Freddie, calling it a bipartisan necessity. Then they don't bail out Merrill or Lehman, and republicans are happy that the government drew a line in the sand. But then there's this massive loan to AIG, an effective government takeover. What happened to the line in the sand?
I just don't understand how the fundamental thrust of the Republican party's rhetoric is Free Market, small government, etc., etc., and yet no one seems to have too much of a problem with the Feds having complete control of virtually every major loan in a country with a profound addiction to debt.
Am I wrong here? Does the past week not conpletely contradict everything on which the Right has tried to build a name?
Also, shouldn't we be terrified by all of this? Is it just me, or did we basically become a Socialist State over night...during a Republican presidency?
I'm asking these question because I honestly don't know. Macroeconomics boggles my mind, and the more I learn the more confused I become. Throw politics into the mix, and you end up with an absinthe laced cocktail of Chaos and Despair.
I drove home this weekend to sell some of my junk at the local flea market. My parents' garage has housed hundreds of my videos, books, records, and laser discs for years. I like the stuff. I really do. But I have no room for it and I needed a little extra money.
Well, the trip was a success. I made some dough and unloaded a few of my less prized positions. I also had a lot of fun people watching. It's one of the bigger flea markets in Georgia, so you can imagine the opportunities. Lets just say that it's the rare kind of place where people outnumber teeth.
My favorite t-shirt of the day? Picture an overweight, middle-aged woman with leathery skin and a bad perm wearing a giant teal shirt. Now imagine on that shirt there are the following words, hot printed in bright bubbly fonts of goodness:
I'M TOO SEXY FOR MY HAIR, THAT'S HOW COME IT ISN'T THERE!!
They hosted the World's Ugliest Dog competition recently, and this dog won. It is an ugly dog, but it got me thinking about another ugly dog I saw on a dog rescue page whose plight is sadder because his ugliness is not so in your face, is one that will cause others to pass him by with a shudder rather to to plant a rosette on his mis-shapen body.
What a poor bugger. I think of him brushing hair for the photo, of staying up into the early hours perfecting the perfect stance, angling his snub nose in such a way that it shows off his best side to the camera and potential new homes. I often think of this little dog and his quest to find a home; a daily running regime, going over his favourite tricks: giving his paw on command, rolling over, even walking backwards. I think of his life story that bought him to be re homed, of his daily routine, going for walks and being the one children didn't pet, how awkward and ugly he would've looked taking a dump, the silent discussions his family had about not being able to look after him anymore while he sat on his favourite cushion and licked himself oblivious to the peril that lay before him. I think of how the other dog's reacted to his arrival at the rescue centre, looks of derision, pity, mock wolf whistles filling the air, and a brief, forced, bottom sniff from his kennel mate.
Most of all I think of his nights, waking up to the soft predictable shock of seeing his reflection blinking back at him from the window of his kennel. His pudgy asymmetrical chest deflating as the pain of the previous day's numerous rejections moisten his eyes to match his wrinkled, upturned nose.
I hope he's found his home, I hope he's been noticed for more than his ugliness, I hope he's happy and I hope his home is without mirrors. Most of all, I hope he hasn't had to learn to beg.
My favorite part: "I really need to know if she thinks dinosaurs were here four thousand years ago." Actually, I used to know someone who swore that humans and dinosaurs inhabited Earth at the same time, and that time was between four and five thousand years ago. This kid was a math genius, too.
Hmm...and Matt Damon played a math genius in Good Will Hunting...which is a Disney movie.
No matter what you think about the content of McCain's nomination acceptance speech, most agree that his delivery left something to be desired. Namely, a pulse. Let's not be too quick to judge, however. I think the problem may have lied less with McCain himself and more with the distracting choice of venue. Namely, Jenny's house in the middle of a karaoke party.
I couldn't bring myself to watch McCain's speech last night because I had exceeded my capacity for bullshit the night before. So I watched my DVR'd World Series of Poker instead, but got occasional glimpses of the convention throughout the night. I noticed that when McCain was giving his acceptance speech there was a hideous looking green background behind him (not the first time they've chosen such a background). But then when they pulled back for a wide angle shot of the stage I saw that the green background was really the lawn of some kind of mansion that they were projecting onto the gigantic screen behind him. Odd, I thought, given McCain's unfortunate inability to answer the question of how many houses he owns, that they would put a picture of a mansion on the screen behind him as he gave his speech. But whatever, Republicans are weird like that. Who ever really knows what the hell they're thinking? So I didn't pay it all that much mind.
Turns out that the picture is actually a picture of Walter Reed Middle School in California. Okaaay. But why would McCain want to speak in front of a gigantic picture of Walter Reed Middle School? Well, he probably wouldn't. But he might have wanted to speak in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and so he might have told someone to get a picture of "Walter Reed" and put it on the screen behind him. Somebody, it seems, may have screwed the pooch on this one.
I mean, really. Are the Republicans even really trying this year? Unbelievable. More here. __________
Update: The McCain campaign is now claiming that this wasn't a mistake at all, that they fully intended to show a picture of some random middle school during the speech and that it just happened to be called Walter Reed:
“The changing image-screen was linked to the American thematics of the speech and the public school was simply part of it,” Mr. Bounds said, adding that during the speech, Mr. McCain “called for public education reforms that empower parents and students before bureaucrats and labor unions.”
For those who don't know, I am trying to make a little extra money by selling toys through an ebay store. The name of the store is Prop Joes. Yes, without the apostrophe.
Anyway, it's been interesting so far. I haven't been able to afford much inventory, and the fees pretty much eat up all the profits. Really, I'm just holding out for a certain item that should do really well, and hopefully make it all worth it.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the latest addition to my store, a sweet Barack Obama action figure.
Virginia Senate candidates Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore both participated in a Labor Day parade through Buena Vista, Virginia, right next to Lexington where I went to law school. Although the Senate race is not expected to be particularly close (Warner is the strong favorite), the presidential race was apparently a big topic of discussion. It's an area of the country that's not exactly full of Obama's strongest demographics, but nonetheless, he seems to be catching on:
When Mildred Hartless, 78, was asked whom she plans to vote for, she responded: "Bahama, Omama or whatever his name his."
"I like him. I really do," she said, adding: "But I really like Warner. I hope in four years or eight years, he is running for president. "
Hopefully she'll figure it all out in the voting booth.
I just watched a Politico panel discussion on day two of the Republican National Convention that made me mad for three reasons. Here they are:
1) A Democrat in the audience asked a specific question about whether, if the Left had chosen a V.P. candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, the "Republican machine" would have attacked them for picking a candidate with poor parenting skills. Of course everyone booed him, which is a mature thing for a bunch of supposedly serious adults to do, obviously. But then NOBODY answered his question. The Lt. Governor of something or other literally said "I don't agree with your premise--next question," and each of the panel member took turns ridiculing the guy for saying such a thing. Fine. But at least concede his point, that of course the Right would have attacked the Democrats for a Palin because that's just how things work. These panelists have nothing to lose by actually participating in an intellectual discussion of the finer points of the Palin decision, and yet they all decided to sacrifice integrity in the name of verbally lynching the freak in the crowd for rocking the boat.
2) That Lt. Governor of something or other said that energy is "our issue," meaning "Republican issue." He then made no bones about exploiting the energy crisis for the sole purpose of winning the election.
3) When directly asked whether McCain would have picked Sarah Palin if she was a man with equivalent experience, they ALL agreed that he would not have. After two hours of puffing up Palin for this and that, every single one of these bastards were willing to confess that she was selected primarily because she's a woman. Really?!?! I mean, we all knew it, but I'm shocked at the nonchalant manner in which they were willing to admit it. I'm all for equal opportunity but, as we have all agreed on this site already, throwing an inexperienced woman on the ticket just to get votes is insulting to every woman, and every voter in this country.
OK, so those are the specifics, but really I don't care as much about the party politics as I do the fact that this was really a sub-par panel. I watched one yesterday on new media that was smart and provocative, but these goobers can't even avoid the basic fallacies of logic that we all learned in high school.
On my way in to work this morning, I saw the following pair of bumper stickers on a car: "Pray for Peace" and "McCain '08," which it seems to me translates into "Pray for Peace, but Vote for War." This is not as good as my all time favorite pair of bumper stickers, which I saw on a pickup truck sitting at the bottom of the Fontaine Ave. off ramp from the 250 Bypass in Charlottesville: an American Flag sticker that said "United We Stand" next to a Confederate Flag sticker that said "The South Shall Rise Again." Seems to me that these folks are either wonderfully ironic or frighteningly dumb.