Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Hello, McFly! We’re in the middle of a financial crisis and if this does not work we’ll be in even bigger trouble than we are right now. Why not work on legislation that is well thought out and responsible so that there is no hedging of bets on it failing?
I am thoroughly disgusted by the inaction taking place on the Hill. The biggest drop in Wall Street in one day and instead of taking action, we have Representatives on the news finger pointing at the other side as to why this isn’t fixed yet. From the New York Times here are some of the reasons as to why some Representatives voted No:
1. Nancy Pelosi gave a partisan speech right before the vote.- An inappropriate move, but who cares what she says? No one watches C-SPAN!
2. The Republicans voting against cited their opposition to government intervention.- Isn’t the lack of regulation and intervention during the unfolding mortgage crisis the reason we’re at this point now?
3. The Democrats voting against didn’t want taxpayer money bailing out Wall Street fat cats.- How about the $1 trillion lost yesterday in the market and how that affects people’s retirement?
Again there’s a reason this year’s Presidential election will yield unprecedented voter turnout and why several long-standing House members may not be re-elected, it has to do with the American people waking up from their long slumber and wondering “What the heck happened?” The days of wine and roses are over, its time for everyone to pay a little more attention to what’s happening in Washington D.C.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Then there’s the response from the Presidential nominees. McCain calls for a time out, as if his presence in Washington is so crucial for brokering the deal. Obama was caught between a rock and a hard place, not wanting McCain to have the upper hand, but also not wanting to look like he doesn’t care. Either way there is no reason why the debates shouldn’t go on as planned.
Economists have weighed on what they feel might be the best solution to the problem at hand, and it seems like most of them are hinging their hat on different theories as to what the outcome will be. The majority feel that handing over a blank check to Paulson and the succeeding Treasury secretary is a bad idea. And that buying debt at the value the banks have listed is a bad deal for taxpayers. If the assets are purchased for less than what they’re listed as, it will probably not help the banks at all. My favorite economist Paul Krugman suggests using the $700 billion to add capital and allow taxpayers a share of the market. When the market recovers (as it should given this plan) profits might actually be made on the public money loaned.
Either way I feel the complexity of this crisis and the public policy solutions necessary to alleviate it are at a level that requires the skill, expertise and willingness to learn that has been at times wholly thrown out of the Presidential race. One example again comes from Governor Palin’s most recent interview with Katie Couric, here’s a brief transcript of her response when asked how the bailout will help out the average American.
COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? … Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?
PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.
Huh?! How does this have anything to do with health care reform or job creation. Maybe she thought this was a different question or maybe like the Bush Doctrine no one has prepped her on why Wall Street needs a $700 billion bailout. If this does not work everyone is in serious trouble, not just "fat cats" and CEOs, but anyone who would like to continue to live and earn money in the U.S. and even abroad. If we are sent back to a bartering economy, at least Alaska might be in some good shape with all those beaver pelts. I'm going to start hoarding copper and other scrap metal to bring down to the trading post.
Add on top of that Washington Mutual failing and having to be purchased by J.P. Morgan Chase, and I am really starting to believe the sky might just be cracking a bit. The minute WaMu decided to move away from its customer service model to a money hungry banking institution like BofA and WeFa this was bound to happen. This is why I suggest Credit Unions or maybe international banks like HSBC.
All of this is made a little better by the Dodgers clinching the N.L. West Division, but then again made a little worse by the Trojans losing to Oregon State. Oh woe is America right now, which is why I suggest everyone head to your nearest watering hole and have a strong drink. Wake me up on November 5th.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The elitist aspect has been the one excuse I've been unable to reconcile. I don't quite understand why Americans should not want the leaders of our country to be well-educated, experienced leaders and visionaries. Ronald Reagan may have been a famous actor at one time, but by the time he ran for President he had already cut his teeth as Governor of one the 3 largest states in the Nation. This is far different from a 2-year stint at the 47th largest state. America has some of the best higher-ed institutions in the World, and every year thousands come to the U.S. from other countries to study. Is it elitist that I worry that Governor Palin went to 6 colleges in 6 years and has no advanced degree? Even for the most entry level job I would assume 6 different transcripts and that many transfers would cause employers to worry about the individual's ability for follow-through.
Interestingly enough, David Brooks, the New York Times conservative opinion writer had a great take on why he believes experiences matters, check it out here.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After much back and forth, the legislature passed a budget around 2:30 a.m. and was promptly threatened with a veto from the Governor, because it did not include all 3 of his budget reform initiatives he demanded. The “rainy day fund” which is to be created to save money when the economy is doing well for year’s when there is a budget shortfall did not come with the restriction Ah-nold proposed. I understand to some extent why he is digging in his heels on this point, because without restrictions on when the money can be pulled from this fund, it could turn into just another pot of money for the State to pull out of at its whim. At the same time, it took this long to pass any budget legislation, I don’t know if 77 days in is really the point at which we want to go back to the drawing board.
When I was in graduate school studying public policy, I assumed that legislation was crafted from research, common sense and thoughtfulness. But after spending sometime in D.C. actually reading legislation, I learned what a hodgepodge of ideas and solutions a successful bill includes. Why? Because every legislator wants to be able to point to how they personally assisted their constituency or prove that they are not just in Sacramento or D.C. saying Yay or Nay. The result is often a very long, impossibly confusing bill that very few people ever read from start to finish.
If Ah-nold sticks to his guns and vetoes the budget, it will be up to the legislature to override him. If they do, he promises to veto every other bill waiting for his approval. In the end, it’s a game of chicken being played with the administration of one of the largest economies in the World, and I’m scared to see who will veer first.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I’m still not sure if UCLA’s first string made it to Provo, or if they got stuck somewhere and the club team had to don their jerseys; either way mad shoutout to my two readers who are BYU alums, the Cougars were amazing! They kept the Bruins from scoring while managing to chalk up 59 points of their own, well done!
Apart from college football there is plenty of other great things to watch on TV and I have thrown myself full-fledged into the fall season of shows. So far here’s my list for this year:
1. The Office: my favorite show is back! And I can’t wait to see what happens with a certain pregnant character! I really hope Rainn Wilson wins an Emmy.
2. Lost: I’m trying to keep this on my radar, because I really want to know what’s up with that island. I know the writing has gone downhill, but I have faith and at least we know there is an end in sight.
3. Mad Men: I am so glad I chose to add this to my list and delete Ugly Betty. I need a good old fashioned serial drama that isn’t too cheesy, plus I love retro interior decorating.
4. House: I am going to miss Kumar as a regular, but I wonder what they will do with Chase and the other girl. Hopefully they dye her hair back to brunette, she looks AWFUL blonde.
5. 24: I really hope this show can revive interest after being off for a year. I also hope that Fox doesn’t make us wait until January to watch this awesome show. At the same time I don’t even remember where we left off so I hope there’s some type of prep for the re-release.
6. Grey’s Anatomy & Private Practice: Both of these shows get one more season and if they don’t improve they’re off the list. Note: both are more interesting and funny if watched after a bottle of wine.
7. Brothers & Sisters: I initially watched this show, because it had some big names. Overall, its relatively interesting, but not a nail biter.
Where will I find the time to watch all of these? Answer: 3 little letters: D.V.R., which cuts most of these shows by 25% in time. But I’m deathly afraid at the same time, because the evil cable company just gave me HBO, Starz and Encore for free for a year, are they trying to kill me on purpose?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I love a good federal scandal, but this also proves another point which I feel is not often mentioned: regardless of who is in office, or who wins the election, the bureaucracy keeps chugging along doing what its always done with very little outside oversight. In most of the agencies, the inspector general’s office is responsible for auditing and investigating thousands with an office of dozens. And, when the wrongdoing is widespread enough too many people become involved for whistleblowers to feel comfortable in telling their story. Even in the DOI situation complaints were filed as far back as 2 ½ years ago. Most people do not want to risk retaliation, especially when it will take so long for an investigation to finish. The federal government is not unique in its size, and unmanageability, it is seen in many large states, counties, cities, and school districts. The amazing part is that when politicians talk about government waste they rarely point their fingers at the bureaucrats, probably because they know they’re voters too.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
First, goats have taken over a brush patch in Downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency decided it would be cheaper and more eco-conscious if they hired goats. The goats chomp on the brush day and night well being watched by their 71 year-old owner. Even better is that the males are fixed to prevent any hanky panky and keep their eye on the prize, that is eating brush.
Second, in the automotive section there is an awesome rundown of the top 5 redneck cars Levi Johnston (Bristol’s Baby Daddy) should consider purchasing. My favorite is the Trans-Am with the screaming chicken on the hood it is truly breathtaking.
It’s bad enough that I have to watch horrible local newscasters on KTLA (also owned by Zell) i.e. Elizabeth Espinosa and Allie McKay, now I get to read about goats. And its not like we’re in the middle of a slow news season, the state budget is overdue by more than 70 days with no sign of being passed in the near future. The SacBee runs a blog updating what’s going in CowTown, but it reads mostly like a political version of Pink is the New Blog. Yesterday’s top headline: “Sen. Maldonado was chewing gum during speech at the RNC.” Are you serious?!
I guess Chicago has it worse than us, Zell has put up the Cubs and Wrigley Field for the highest bidder. I suggest Chicagoans use some of that community organizing honed on the South Side and drum up some funds to purchase it themselves. Hey, its worked for Green Bay.
Monday, September 8, 2008
On a sad note, Tom Brady’s injured and potentially out for the season! Luckily he has Giselle to nurse him in the hospital as long as it doesn’t interfere with the Spring fashion shows and I’m sure Bridget Moynahan will bring Baby Brady for a visit too. I felt bad for Petyon Manning who couldn’t get a break in his season opener against the Bears (Go Bears!- I heart Fargo), but I wouldn’t count the Colts out just yet. But in the end “Who cares?” what really matters in football is that today is jury selection in the O.J. Simpson kidnapping/robbery trial. He should’ve worn Isotoners this time or at least got some balloons to block the security cameras a la Ocean’s 11.
In tennis, Serena kicked Jancovic’s butt on the Court to win the U.S. Open, and although I’m not a huge Williams’ sister fan its nice to see an American win on the home turf. A friend of mine suggested we force all those other foreign tennis stars to become citizens if they want to live here. It would definitely ensure we kick butt in the Olympics. At least our former cousin, Andy Murray, from Scotland, managed to knock down Nadal from his oh so pretty Spanish pedestal. I think it might have been the hair tie, or the tape below his knees being not even or the fact that his feet had lost circulation from wearing shoes 1 ½ sizes too small. That guy has dedication, probably as a result of his slightly OCD tendencies and his need to maintain Rockstar status in the home country.
Last but not least my wayward Dodgers got back on track (for now) by sweeping the D’backs this weekend. Yesterday’s game was practically handed to us by the sloppy playing Arizonians. Maybe they’re preoccupied with their Senator running for President, or wondering why they have jerseys saying “Los D’backs”, or they have just realized as the Dodgers will soon (if they make it to the postseason) is that being 1st in the N.L. West is a lot like being Runner-Up in the Miss Alaska pageant; it doesn’t get you far, oh wait I take that back there’s a 1 in a million chance it will get you a World Series ring or the Vice Presidency.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This was such an exciting 3-day weekend I barely know where to start. So let me begin with the beguine…Bristol Palin is preggers. Now I know that this has happened to many a young female, but to the offspring of a conservative, abstinence only sex education, VP Candidate from the frozen tundra, feels like some bad joke repeated on the nightly comedy shows. But its true and the GOP convention has to now figure out which is worse Gustav stealing their thunder or all the attention placed on
On Saturday I reaffirmed my devotion to the Trojans, and reminded me about how I need them to remain a Dodger fan. If I was a Bruin football fan and a Dodgers fan, I’d be in a constant state of stress and frustration. At least this way I can take a break and enjoy a game where there are no surprises, except for how attractive Mark Sanchez looks without his football helmet on. Finally USC has someone cute to put up on the big screen. John David Booty lacked a lot in the looks department (and QB department as well). I can’t wait for
And finally, all this excitement is almost eclipsed by the return of
On second thought, I must actually be getting old, because shows/bands from when I was young are starting to have reunions. Check out NKOTB’s new promo pic. Maybe they’ll have to change their name this time around.