Saturday, October 25, 2008

The next great depression...

Well written, and at times humorous look at the current financial crisis. As we watch the Meth system send home full time workers without pay, and try to manage on less income (while the Meth fat cats get their big salaries and bonuses), it pays to try to maintain a sense of humor about it. This article just said it all.

Keith Blanchard
Posted October 24, 2008 | 12:22 PM (EST)
The Next Great Depression Is Here... If We're Lucky


Don't panic — this is just a speed bump. You want to ride this one out. Think long-term. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your money where it is — trust the market. The worst thing you can do is panic.

Reassuring words, which can all be traced, ultimately, to the same dudes who ringed our noses and walked us to the edge of this particular ravine in the first place. The Dow is literally in freefall as we speak, plunging beneath a five-year-low, with no bottom in sight. So here's my open question: Are you guys sure we shouldn't panic?

You know, not that we don't trust you absolutely anymore.

I, for one, think this is an excellent time to panic. I'm strongly considering curling up in the corner over there and rocking like a freaked-out autistic kid.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting ready to vote for Obama on Monday

I found many youtube videos to view, which suited my mood today. I am so excited to be able to cast my vote on Monday, for my grandchildren more than myself. My grandchildren are Hispanic and bi-racial, and it is for them that I do this. Sen. Obama as President Obama....the hope that lies within that statement!
We spent our 35th wedding anniversary in 2007, working at an event for Sen. Obama, and never expected a thank you. However, we got a thank you, an happy anniversary wish and an autograph.

We wish Barack and Michelle many years of happiness together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Robert Reich, some common sense

From his blog:

Post-Meltdown Mythologies (I): Americans Have Been Living Beyond Their Means
What brought on the economic meltdown of 2008? Besides the bursting of the housing bubble, Wall Street's malfeasance and non-feasance, and Washington's massive failure to oversee Wall Street, fingers are also being pointed at average Americans. Some of them took on mortgages they couldn't afford, of course, but we're also hearing a more basic theme that goes something like this: For too long, Americans have been living beyond our means. We went too deeply into debt. And now we're paying the inevitable price.

The "living beyond our means" argument, with its thinly-veiled suggestion of moral terpitude, is technically correct. Over the last fifteen years, average household debt has soared to record levels, and the typical American family has taken on more of debt than it can safely manage. That became crystal clear when the housing bubble burst and home prices fell, eliminating easy home equity loans and refinancings.

But this story leaves out one very important fact. Since the year 2000, median family income has been dropping, adjusted for inflation. One of the main reasons the typical family has taken on more debt has been to maintain its living standards in the face of these declining real incomes.

It's not as if the typical family suddenly went on a spending binge --- buying yachts and fancy cars and taking ocean cruises. No, the typical family just tried to keep going as it had before. But with real incomes dropping, and the costs of necessities like gas, heating oil, food, health insurance, and even college tuitions all soaring, the only way to keep going as before was to borrow more. You might see this as a moral failure, but I think it's more accurate to view it as an ongoing struggle to stay afloat when the boat's sinking.

The "living beyond our means" argument suggests that the answer over the long term is for American families to become more responsible and not spend more than they earn. Well, that may be necessary but it's hardly sufficient.

The real answer over the long term is to restore middle-class earnings so families don't have to go deep into debt to maintain what was a middle-class standard of living. And that requires, among other things, affordable health insurance, tax credits for college tuition, good schools, and an energy policy that's less dependent on oil, the price of which is going to continue to rise as demand soars in China, India, and elsewhere.

In other words, the way to make sure Americans don't live beyond their means is to give them back the means.

Reich is correct, I need my means back! We have made no changes in our lifestyle. Still live in the same place for the past 15 yrs; we do not go shopping; we don't go out to movies or dinner more than once per month, if that; we don't have DVR or fancy cable channels, basically we have added no expenses in the past 15 yrs, but our paycheck does not go as far and we have had to cut corners. We have seen inflation, while everyone in DC has ignored it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Posts regarding the debate on 10/06/08

First, McCain stated that Obama added charges to a bill for overhead projectors--who the hell still uses overhead projectors? Did McCain really mean power point? What century does McCain live in??

Creepy....when McCain said that Am's secret you don't know is that Obama will increase taxes on small businesses....with a smarmy smile and old man chuckle-thing. It was creepy.

The McCain statement "you know who voted for it? That one!" Now that was just ugly and nasty and creepy too. In a normal conversation who would say "that one" when referring to a person standing next to them? In our house that would have been my 91 yr old mother who could not remember anybody's name. So can't McCain remember names???

McCain's healthcare solutions to save money were records to save money (sure), and walk in clinics...didn't they used to be public health clinics, which Bush abolished?

McCain - healthcare = responsbility. So, shouldn't you have to pay a monthly bill for police, fire and 9/11?

Obama - healthcare = a right. As in, we as citizens of our nation, all pay for care for everyone?

And the part of the debate when I knew for sure it was staged, was when a retired Navy chief asked about friendship with Israel....BS. Who really believed that a retired USN chief really wanted to know that? My brother in law is retired USN and I know that was NOT the burning question that he had.

All in all, I think debates at not all that informative because they are too scripted.

I just watched the debate for a second time and I now truly believe that this debate was scripted totally. After all, who in a so-called town hall meeting, would ask about the cold war???? That is dead, gone and last century. This was scripted. What did they pay the audience members to ask these lame questions?

the economy

It is usually estimated that salaries double every 10 yrs, thus keeping up with inflation.
I reviewed my salary history since 1969, and here is what I discovered:
1.10 / hr 1969
2.25/ hr 1972
and estimated should have been:
4.40 /hr 1980
8.80 / hr 2000 and
35.30 /2010

What this tells me is that I have made absolutely NO headway since my first job. I have barely, if at all kept up with inflation.So, if there is a nursing shortage why aren't my wages higher? Simply because nurses are not really valued, profit is king to the for-profit healthcare system.

So I am screwed. I know my children are screwed as they will make even less headway, and some, if not all. of my kids will come home at some time because they can't afford rents.

Piss on John McCain! Liar, asshole and all around old, grumpy, nasty man who gives a shit about real people. Neocons be damned. Reagan may you rot in hell. You and your for profit healthcare idea got me to this point.
Thanks for the fascist corporatocracy.


These fuckers need to be in jail with murderers and rapists as roomies!

WFT???? This just makes me absolutely furious beyond belief and beyond reason. I am so sure Sullivan was "heartbroken at what has happened." My ASS ! ! ! His heartbroken ass got a massage and probably vast quantities of alcohol and food and whatnot, while families are losing their homes, their retirement savings, struggling to put basic food on the table and put gas in their tanks. My ASS, he is heartbroken.
Can we make them do some of the world's dirtest jobs? You've seen the show. Let's make it a reality CEO show, and let these guys do the jobs. They need to sweat, get dirty and get very, very hungry. Perhaps we can even make them sleep tents, gents, that's too easy for you.
You F'ing pigs.

Rescued by taxpayers, $440,000 for retreat including "pedicures, manicures."

Less than a week after the federal government committed $85 billion to bail out AIG, executives of the giant AIG insurance company headed for a week-long retreat at a luxury resort and spa, the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California, Congressional investigators revealed today.

"Rooms at this resort can cost over $1,000 a night," Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said this morning as his committee continued its investigation of Wall Street and its CEOs.

AIG documents obtained by Waxman's investigators show the company paid more than $440,000 for the retreat, including nearly $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 in spa charges.

"Their getting their pedicures and their manicures and the American people are paying for that," said Cong. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

"This unbridled greed," said Cong. Mark Souder (R-IN), "it's an insensitivity to how people are spending our dollars."

Appearing before the committee, Martin Sullivan, the AIG CEO until June, said the company was overwhelmed by a "financial global tsunami," and that "no simple or single cause" was to blame.

"I am heartbroken at what has happened," Sullivan said.

Robert Willumstad, the CEO from June to September, 2008, maintained AIG was a victim of a "crisis in confidence" and an "unprecedented global catastrophe." "Through the first week of September we were confident AIG could weather the crisis," Willumstad testified. He said the federal government offered its $85 million bail out on the afternoon it prepared for bankruptcy. Willumstad said the Federal Reserve demanded he resign, and will turn down his AIG retirement package of several million dollars.

But Congressional investigators raised question of "mismanagement" and whether AIG executives sought to "cook the books" and hide negative information from outside auditors.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Financial crisis and comments on a discussion with 18 yr old Libertarian

My young adult daughter (Democrat) was having some difficulty understanding the current financial crisis and I realized during our discussion that although I thought I had an adequate level of understanding, I was totally unable to outline the facts or explain the who/what/when/why of the entire thing. So, I began doing some research and found some excellent articles, which I have posted previously here and elsewhere.

This morning while reading the Washington Post, I found this article by David Rothkopf, which I shared with my daughter and my husband. The first statement that struck me was this:

That's because while 9/11 changed the way we view the world, the current financial crisis has changed the way the world views us. And it will also change, in some very fundamental ways, the way the world works.

It will be interesting to see how the US is viewed in future. Much will depend, I think, upon who wins the election in Nov. We can only hope that not only does Obama win, but the House and Senate elections cause great turn over.

If only our new Congress will look at things from an entirely new perspective after Jan. 20th. Europe and Asia may well have the upper hand in the end and have to drag our leaders kicking and screaming to an innovative solution that is not of American making. (IMHO).

French President Nicolas Sarkozy concluded recently that the world has seen the end to free-market economies. "Laissez-faire, it's finished. The all-powerful market that is always right, it's finished," he said. We would, he added, need "to rebuild the entire global financial and monetary system from the bottom up, the way it was done at Bretton Woods after World War II." Germany's finance minister offered a similar perspective in remarks to his parliamentary colleagues. "The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system," Peer Steinbr├╝ck declared. "This world will become multipolar. The world will never be the same again."

Please take time to read the article referenced above.


Now sort of on another subject---when working the Dem HQ yesterday..

According to an 18 yr old girl (Liberterian) I spoke with yesterday the entire current economic problem is caused by people who "don't deserve" a house, and don't "deserve" credit either. This young lady, who recently moved out of her parents' home, was just so certain that lack of regulations have absolutely no bearing on this crisis, it's the whining masses of we, the citizens who take out mortgages that we know we can't afford. In addition, she thought we didn't need to regulate food because it always had E. coli in it and regulations won't change that.

I do wish I had had the time to ask her the following questions:
- What if you had been able to afford your mortgage for 10-15 years, but then due to increased property taxes and job loss the payments have become too high?
- What if you became ill, and had missed a great deal of work, and were overwhelmed by medical bills, lack of income while being out sick (with no pain sick leave or short term disability), and you could not make your payments?
-What if your job was shipped overseas and you could not find a new job that paid more than half of what you used to make?

But, when one is 18 and knows everything, it is just too easy be blind to circumstances that you have never encountered.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lordy don't we miss Molly????

I miss Molly's humor and her wit. Today, I found this article in Salon, and just had to share it. It was written by Anne Lamont, and is a must read article for those of use how adored Molly.

Here is an excerpt:
It breaks a girl's heart to know that Molly Ivins does not get to have a go at the Republican slate this year. I can see that big, rosy, sunflower face watching this all with astonishment and roaring with laughter. Ivins -- the legendary buckaroo populist, journalist, freelance hell-raiser and freedom fighter -- would be pounding her fists on the arms of her easy chair, stomping her feet as if listening to live bluegrass.

She would have had such a ball with Sarah Palin -- the trooper scandal, her love of moose (between buns), the flamboyantly botched television interviews, the bravery of people who hunt wolves for sport, from the air. Even though Molly was a Texan -- who would have been on guard for the sneering tone of liberal criticism toward anyone with a gun or a double-wide -- she still would have obliterated Palin as a faux populist wingnut with a tanning bed instead of a heart.

go here to read the rest, which is NOT to be missed!

BBC timeline on the financial crisis

Very thorough and well done. Worth reading as it will broaden your level of understanding.

In addition, the BBC has a glossary of terms here

Friday, October 03, 2008

Who is Sarah Palin?

I know who she is, and most women do as well. She is "that girl" you know, "that girl" in high school, the one who was popular and pretty,, and would stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I have said this for the past 5 weeks, and the debate just sealed it for me. When speaking with my adult daughters, and I mentioned that fact, they both said....yeah, now that you mention it, that's her."
I have one grand daughter who is on the way to being "that girl" Evidently they are born with the proclivity for it, because even by age 6 you can see it. How this attitude is nurtured, I am not sure, but I think it has to do with the fact that even at a young age you know you are pretty and you learn how to manipulate people.
So, think of Sarah Palin as the manipulator. "That girl" from high school."
Women you know exactly what I am talking about. Right?

From the Obama blog today, I had to share this one, because it is so special

I had to post this because Katheryn's feelings mirror my own so closely. I too have a rainbow family and when I think of the importance and significance of my vote this year, well, it's astounding. I cried when I read what Katheryn had to say. See what you think:

Residents of Oberlin, Ohio are flooding the local Board of Elections to vote early this week. Two buses from Oberlin College shuttled over 100 students to vote yesterday, and over 400 Lorain County residents registered to vote. Students are excited to make their first vote in a presidential election early - especially in such an important and historic election. Buses will continue to shuttle students to register and vote this weekend.

Katheryn voted yesterday in Oberlin and told us a little bit about what that experience was like.

I was excited to vote early. When I arrived there were many cars in the parking lot with Barack Obama bumper stickers. When I went inside to vote there was already a line and a 15 minute wait. There was a muted buzz of excitement.

When it was my turn to vote, I cried.

My family, like Barack's is a lovely rainbow. I cried for my two sons, who will vote for Barack, and for the first time in their lifetime be able to see themselves and their children in him.

I voted for my late mother, a teacher, and father, a truck driver, who instilled in all of us a sense of community, responsibility, the importance of education, and struggled to send us to college.

I voted for all the men and women and children in my family who have worked for generations to contribute to this country, and after many years, have finally found a principled leader who represents us all.

I voted for my precious grandchildren for whom I've dedicated all my work for Barack to these past 19 months.

Finally, I voted for all the lost, the lonely, the disenfranchised, the poor, handicapped, ALL Americans who never had the opportunity to vote.

Today I have joined with millions of Americans of all backgrounds who have come together to help change the United States into the honorable and extraordinary country we've all known it can be -- with the help of Barack Obama.