Blagojevich Makes Edwin Edwards Look Like An Amateur

Blagojevich’s arrest was so startling that my husband woke me up to tell me about it. (Yes, I was sleeping, I am trying to get over a horrible cold and sinus infection.)

Let’s just say that while Edwards was greedy and corrupt, I don’t think he had the “fire in the belly” to really hurt people that these recordings of Blagojevich have shown.

I’m not a great political blogger and for the truly astounding depth of scumbagginess that the Governor of Illinois has fallen to, start with Althouse, here and here. Her commenters are having some fun with this.

Gateway Pundit – just keep scrolling.

Classical Values – just keep scrolling.

UPDATE: From the comments below, you’ve got to read this, it’s short and makes a valid point I’ve not seen elsewhere.

Misdirected Outrage

I know who I’m going to vote for and I think everybody else does to, or they are at least strongly leaning one way or the other.

Nothing I write is going to change anybody’s mind at this point (if ever).

There is something that I would like everyone to consider:

The President IS NOT as powerful as some would like to think. His veto can be torn up by Congress. Judges ARE NOT that powerful. If they strike a law down as unconstitutional, Congress can rewrite it and overcome the constitutional problems.

Outrage at the President and judges is misdirected, but it’s so much easier than outrage at the people who are truly responsible for our problems: our 535 congressmen.

The people who are powerful are Representatives and Senators, our Congress, all elected by various groups of us. And it is broken, rotten to the core with corruption with rules that encourage self-dealing.

It’s going to be difficult to do a makeover on Congress because the system requires us to do it from the inside, one congressional district and one state at a time.

For this to happen, citizens are going to have to come together and support good people to represent us. Neither party has a lock on corruption. Neither party has a lock on good people.

I Am Joe’s Wife, Aunt, Sister, Mother, Daughter

Iowahawk (who I don’t have on my blogroll, but perhaps should) in a most serious note suggests that he is Joe.

Joe is defined too narrowly as merely a plumber. Joe is more than that, don’t you think? He represents my pipefitter husband, his welder brother, whose two sons are actually plumbers!

And how are they different from my dad the logger and sawmiller, my stepbrother who followed in my dad’s footsteps? How are they that different from my brother who didn’t, but perhaps wishes he had?

How are my sons – a teacher in training and AF National Guardsman and a disabled, but determined man different from Joe? Do they not have dreams? Are they not working to make them reality? Why, yes they are. Are they perfect? I wish… though I love them as if they were.

Truly, I can’t think of a more “perfect” example of the American working man than today’s plumber. While no more dignified than ditch-digging, it requires more education and training (yes, there’s math and physics involved).

If I understand Democrat ideals (it’s entirely possible I do not), Joe the Plumber should be their poster boy. Yet… he’s not. Why? Why are middle Americans not represented by the Democrat Party? And why do so many of them think they are?

What Bernanke, the Fed, and the Treasury Should Do

They should listen to “real” people instead of Congress. (Did you ever wonder if one has to be one can short of a six-pack to be a politician?)

See Dean’s Forum Wide-Ranging Discussion of Financial Crisis, Taxpayer-Funded Rescue Bill – full video or clip from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business blog – McCombs Today.

Then scroll down the comments (7th one) and read what Economics Professor Brandl has to say:  

Bernanke, the Fed and the Treasury have to make it clear where the “bailouts” are going to stop.  This will help to put a floor under the financial markets and decrease uncertainty.  They need to be more transparent and clear as to who will be and who won’t be saved.  The piecemeal approach they are following is not working.  Also this “drawing of the line in the sand” should be coordinated with policymakers in other OECD countries as well as Russia and India.  Notice, I deliberately left out China.

Structuring the bailout as buying of assets was a mistake.  Instead the Treasury should have injected capital into the banks and taken an equity stake in return.  This would have punished stockholders in these firms by diluting their ownership stake.  This would also give the Treasury power in setting executive compensation at these firms.  Is this socialism?  No, it is a step in internalizing the fiduciary responsibility these firms have to the broader financial markets and economy.  The current “leaders” of these firms have demonstrated they are incapable of performing this role satisfactory.

The Treasury should be buying the mortgages of people and families who were truly victims and there are many.  But, the Treasury should not be using taxpayer money to bailout real estate speculators or those who should have know better as to what they were getting themselves into with these sub-prime and Alt-A mortgages.  But how does the Treasury make this distinction?  They need to set up some system, with oversight, to do this.  A mortgage-based RTC is what is needed.

Oh, yeah… remember the Resolution Trust Corporation? Why not use a model that worked fairly well?

Since the bailout has been structured as it is, Paulson should have named someone to run it, and the buying of bank assets, who has a great deal of experience and credibility.  Potential names include:

Bill Gross, Chief Investment Office at Pimco, who the Washington Post described as “the nation’s best-known bond-fund manager.”

Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Board of Governors

Don Powell, former head of the FDIC and famed Texas banker

Glenn Hubbard, Dean of the Columbia Business School, former head of the Council of Economic Advisors

So who did Paulson pick?  A 35 year old former Goldman Sachs underling named Neel Kashkari. Needless to say, this was not a great confidence building move.

Once the current liquidity crisis ends the Fed, Treasury and the new President are going to have to put in place measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.  Among the things they need to consider should be:

  • Overhaul of the financial regulatory system.  Paulson’s idea on this in the spring was a first (but bad) attempt to do this.
  • Ensure high quality regulators.  This means paying a decent salary to attract well educated and trained “bank examiners.”  The Fed, FDIC and other regulators need to pay salaries of say $125,000 a year to attract the best and the brightest if we expect them to correctly “oversee” sophisticated financial firms.
  • Establish the “rules of the game” for future bailouts.  If any entity is going to be labeled as “too big to fail” who is going to pay “the price” for the bailout?  What will that price be?  My suggestion is to do the following:  make it clear to the board of directors as well as the executives of financial firms, that if the firm they control receives federal government assistance these people will pay personally.  That means, if you run a TBTF firm and that firm requires a government funded bailout, the Federal Government will seize your home, retirement funds, children’s trust funds and demand repayment of your salary for the last 5 years.  This is called internalizing the externality on a personal level.

These are only a few of the things that should be done.  Here is hoping the discussion continues long after the current crisis ends.

The above is also on Professor Brandl’s Macroeconomic Updates page (for now). I think you have to be a UT student or alumni or know a secret “hook ’em” handshake to subscribe to the email list.

Sphincters Of Steel

Dominic Lawson: Democrat fingerprints are all over the financial crisis

Of all the characteristics of a successful politician, none is more essential than bare-faced cheek. Never has this been more evident than in the past fortnight, as senior Democrat members of the US legislature have sought to lay all the blame for the country’s financial crisis on the executive arm of Government and Wall Street.Neither of these two institutions is blameless – far from it. Yet when I see such senior Democrats as Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Christopher Dodd, Chairman of the Senate’s Banking Committee, play the part of avenging angels – well, I can only stand in silent awe at the sheer tight-bottomed nerve of it. These are men with sphincters of steel.

Once again, have supposed “do-gooders” hurt the ones they profess to love and help?

The saddest outcome of all this within America – apart from the crippling cost to the nation’s taxpayers – is that the very people the Democrats had intended to help will be the biggest victims: for many years to come banks will demand the most stringent terms for mortgages to the least well off.

We can hope that won’t be true, but even if it is — if one cannot afford the mortgage payment, it’s better they be denied.

via Classical Values

Experts And Idiots

I’ve been asking in comments on various blogs why the raters of MBS (mortgage backed securities) were not more on the hook than they seemed to be.

If you have an expert, a supposedly unbiased expert telling you that this is a good investment, should you question their motives?

Apparently so.

Read An Expert-Induced Bubble.

I still think that while the creation of Fannie Mae was a good idea 70 years ago, it should have been phased out instead of encouraged to grow. In every instance where its growth has been phenominal, it’s been a Democrat controlled Congress that has spurred it on. Note that I am not blaming Democrat or Republican presidents, but Congress.

Note also, that neither party is capable of always getting its way even if it is in the majority. Everything is ultimately bipartisan to some extent.

Finally, this entire fiasco is a good time to review whether government programs can improve the financial well-being of poor people, regardless their color. It is also a time to examine the playing of the “race card” every time regulation, oversight, or cutbacks are called for.

Stupid, Evil, or

Pelosi, Reid, and the Democrats do not want to take “ownership” of the bailout. Sure, it’s a lot of money and they don’t want responsibility for a spending bill of that size.

But does it go further than that? Do they fear it the spending bill will fail? Do they want they economy to fail, with or without the spending bill? I think that Pelosi is playing politics, fast and furious. She said the bill was in response to “failed” Bush policies of the last 8 years. Hasn’t it been adequately documented that the policies of the last 30+ years are responsible?

With all due respect (which may be none) I am of the opinion that Nancy Pelosi did not want this bill to pass. The reasons why may be numerous.

If I may quote myself (a comment on Ambivablog)

If Pelosi had really wanted this bill to pass, it would have. You cannot convince me that there were not 12 of the 95 Democrats who voted “no” that she couldn’t persuade to a “yes”. She has a bunch of carrots and a wheel barrel full of sticks to use, but she chose not to. Then she did everything she could to ensure that no “on the fence” Republican would be swayed to vote “yes”.

Yet she ( and her Democrat cronies) are doing a very good job of making it look like this was all the Republicans’ (and by default, John McCain’s) fault.

That takes a lot of talent if you ask me. Talent put to use NOT for the good of this nation or for its citizens.

Nancy Pelosi is not stupid, she’s mean-spirited and evil.

I do not want my blog to become a political blog. I’d much rather post pictures of my grandchildren. At one time, I thought about this place as a money-making venture. Being political is one way to do that. But it really isn’t a way suited to me. Been there, done that, found it’s only useful once every four years.

I’m a registered Republican, because I wanted to vote against David Duke 10.. 15… how many years ago was that? The only bumper sticker I’ve ever even considered putting on my car was one for Edwin Edwards, the crook, when he was opposing the racist (truly racist, not just a politically incorrect racist) David Duke.

(I also considered putting a “Don’t blame me, I voted for Jindal” sticker on my car. But I didn’t. I really hate bumper stickers.)

Bottom line – it’s Amba’s to promote if she chooses. Michael Reynolds doesn’t think I get the “politics” of this fiasco. Of course, I disagree!

A Fundamental Agreement

I mentioned below that my husband and I have some fundamental political disagreements and that I liked to focus on things where we agree.

One of those things is Congress. We’ve both agreed for some time now that most of them are self-infatuated idiots. This is not determined by party affiliation.  It’s come about watching them “work” on CSPAN.

The Anchoress has a few details: 545 people with too much power. I might add that those 545 people have a fundamental misunderstanding of their job description.

It’s performance review time for many of them. Let’s not be shy about imposing term limits.

McCain And Obama Debate

I was watching and they were both ticking me off, so I quit. My husband and I disagree fundamentally on politics in some areas and I also didn’t want to get in a heated discussion with him about it. I like to focus on the areas where we agree.

Why were they both pissing me off? Well, Obama for dishonesty. His tax plan (or any other tax plan) cannot cut taxes for 95% of Americans and not bankrupt the country. When you consider that far more than 5% of the U.S. pay no federal income tax at all, it’s mathematically impossible. McCain for not following through on some of his statements and not responding to some of Obama’s accusations.

I was never enthusiastic about Obama. He never appeared to me to be inspiring, uplifting, intelligent beyond normal, or well-spoken above the high school debate level. Much as I disagree with Clinton on various issues, she’s mostly a policy pragmatist first. Obama is a policy shapeshifter.

My first choice on the Republican side was Fred Thompson. After that it became anybody but Huckabee. That anybody turned out to be McCain.

No matter who “wins” tonight’s debate, I’m still voting for McCain. I can’t stomach and we can’t pay for Obama’s plans. I come to that conclusion after having read his books and some (there’s tons) of his issues statements on his website.

Mommy, McCain’s Making It Hard For Me

That’s Democrat after Democrat speaking on CSPAN for the last 20 minutes or so complaining how McCain won’t let them have their way.

According to them, they had everything solved, but then McCain showed up and ruined the party.

And everyone of them says they don’t want this to be political. Yet, why exactly are they complaining about the other party — in this case, a loyal opposition party — working to get some of their views considered, their ideas included?

Whiners. Sorry, that’s just how they  are coming across. They are definitely making this political in every way they can by making McCain “look bad”. Is this because they are embarrassed that Obama is so “above it all”?

Too Big To Fail? Or Too Big Not To Fail?

Shouldn’t that translate into too big to exist? Take, for instance the health problems faced by extremely tall or extremely obese humans.

Sure, biological examples are not automatically comparable with economics. But doesn’t it follow that if the blood supply cannot feed the organs, that death will occur? Barring some exotic and dangerous operation?

What about that old saying warning one not to put all their eggs in one basket? Would heeding this have helped the “too big to fail guys” in fending off disaster?

Should we go read again about the couple that killed the goose that laid the golden egg? Where does hubris fall in this tableau? Perhaps the milkmaid and her pail? It’s time to reread Aesop’s Fables.

Reagan Was Falsely Accused

With news today that Obama may have tried to influence the Iraqi government to “delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence“, it’s almost impossible to not to think of Reagan being accused of negotiating with the Iranians to “delay” release of American hostages until his inauguration.

Now, as much as I think Carter was a horrible president (and even worse as an ex-President) he did do a few things right. One is that he spent his last day and night in office working tirelessly for the release of the hostages.

The election was long over.

In Lou Cannon’s Reagan, (out of print?) it is described this way:

…Jimmy Carter was doing his utmost to free the hostages during his last hours as President. Reagan aides had cooperated, joining the defeated President during the transition to send a single message to Iran which said, in effect, “Don’t expect a better deal from Ronald Reagan.” The negotiations had nonetheless dragged on, to the consternation both of Carter and the Reagan team. “The best thing that could happen to us would be to have the hostages free when we took office,” Reagan’s counsellor Edwin Meese had said privately three days before the inauguration. It almost happened. At one point during the long night before the inauguration the release seemed so assured that Carter and his aides drank a champagne toast to the captured Americans. But it was a premature celebration. By dawn, Carter had recognized that he would no longer be in office by the time the hostages left Iran. (pp. 20-21)

Of course the more dastardly charge is that Reagan was in contact with the Iranians before the election, urging them to hold the hostages just a little longer to keep Carter’s ratings down. In fact, as early as June, it was a fear of the Reagan campaign that Carter himself was delaying the release so it would be an “October Surprise” and tried to preempt such a surprise by bringing it up to reporters. Thinking that Carter would do such a thing is pretty rotten too. (p. 293)

However, accusing Carter of such isn’t exactly be accusing him of a crime, whereas accusing Reagan of doing it before taking office is. Both accusations stink.

For further reading on Obama’s latest problem and more links, see The Anchoress and Bookworm Room

I’m A Political Genius

And for this amazing ability I get a T-Shirt! A Pajamas Media T-Shirt.  (Didn’t they know I’d prefer a link and that would have cost them less?)

That’s right folks, out of 5200 people who entered PajamasMedia’s veepstakes, I was one of 48 to correctly guess the VP picks of both parties. That makes me one of the smartest (luckiest?) 0.9% of those brave (or silly?) enough to enter the contest. 

I have my left hand on the pulse of Obama and my right hand on the pulse of McCain. If there are any political questions you’d like answered, feel free to post them in the comments and I will bestow my wisdom accordingly. 

Maybelline? Mary Kay?

Where are you? Who is going to be the first to come out with “Palin Pink” as a lipstick color? It surely can’t be an expensive cosmetics company. That would just taint the candidate, don’t you think?

Has anyone dared ask her what brand cosmetics she uses? Surely Charlie Gibson will do so. Surely he realizes how important this is.

In fact, I think it is important to define the exact shade of pink that “Palin Pink” will be. Because if Jamie Spears ever decides to actually send Bristol some burp cloths, she needs to know what color this actually is.

I’m fairly jealous actually that Sarah Palin does not appear to need expensive cosmetics. Unlike myself, I think she’d be as well off with Maybelline, Mary Kay, or Clinique, or brands I’ve never heard of because I’ve never been in a place that expensive.

Listen up, lipstick makers — whoever comes up with it, I’ll buy it :-)

Pit Bull With Lipstick

And I want to hug that pit bull! Oh yeah, that sounds a bit lesbian, so sue me. She’s one hell of an orator (Obama, uh, listen up — you uh, really don’t shine in uh, that department, you know, uh, despite what’s been, uh, written about you…)

If Sarah Palin was snide and sarcastic, then I like snide and sarcastic. No, I love snide and sarcastic.

If Sarah Palin is wrong to treat her “special needs” child as normally as possible, then I’m wrong too in treating my “non-special needs” children as normal. Good grief, what is a mother to do when faced with any child — set him or her up to fail due to “special” treatment? And, yes, I do speak from experience here as the mother of a special needs child who is now a special needs adult. He is still his own entity, not an extension of me.

Admiration is something I have for few people. My mother and father have earned it. My grandmother and step-grandfather have earned it. A few very special aunts, uncles, and cousins have earned it. My children — they too have earned it, each in their own special way. But… to bestow any semblance of this admiration to a politician is unheard of in my world. Yet, Sarah Palin has earned, at the very least, a consideration that she might possibly deserve my admiration.

Oh yeah, and I want to adopt Piper and Trig. Would that be OK with you Sarah?

Slowing Down to Ogle the Smoldering Remains of a Car Wreck

I’ve outgrown slowing down to merely ogle, I slow down and get out of the way as soon as possible. Is that a sign of maturity? Probably not, since I’m doing it and I don’t claim maturity, just age.

It’s more like the novelty has worn off. I’ve seen plenty of that.

That’s why I’m not watching more of the Democrat’s Convention. Oh sure, I’ve seen snippets, read others and so far, nothing new. More of the same, except a bit jaded and worn around the edges.

That does not mean I don’t have a few observations to make. I did pass by, afterall.

Michelle Obama is a much better, much more articulate speaker than her husband with or without a teleprompter.

You just knew some silly TV reporter was going to have to try Rocky Mountain Oysters on camera, didn’t you? mmm… tastes like chicken nuggets, but much better than McDonald’s. Remind me to tell you about the parties some rancher friends of ours used to throw.

I don’t remember the Kennedy’s playing such a big role at the 2004 Dem convention. Is that my poor memory or is the Dems way of telling them goodbye? It seems strange. If it’s goodbye, is it hello to backroom Clinton influence for years to come? oh dear.

My Dad just called me and reminded me that we, the voters, are responsible for the candidates we get. Well… yes, and no. The two party system is part of the problem. The primaries narrow it down to who is supposedly the least offensive of the field, so we get to choose between two of the ones that survive that process. On the positive side, it does usually weed out the nuttier of the bunch on both sides.

Does that process really take into consideration who would be best for the country?

Term limits, folks. I’m in favor more and more.

My Chosen Charity This Year

Save Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School

I’m not voting for Obama, but that’s no reason to ignore his father’s hometown school. Education is the first step. Obama’s father and Juliette Ochieng’s father both got the advantage of advanced education in the United States. I think it’s fitting that the offspring of at least one of them returns the favor.

Hopefully both will.

Not being one of the wealthiest people anywhere, I’m not able to donate very much, but I have so far donated a little bit two months in a row and plan to keep doing so. I hope some of you will join me!