Monday, February 16, 2009

Sorry, the Bank is Closed

As I always do on a federal holiday, I go check my mailbox and wonder why there aren't any letters. I nearly always compound that by feeling that it's a great time to go to the bank, and then wonder why the parking lot is empty and the doors are locked. Yes, I've done this an embarrassing number of times.

I figure if you can be amused by your own mistakes you'll never run out of material.

But as I contemplate what's going on in capital markets around the world, which wakes me up at 3am from time to time, I wonder if the Bank Closed sign will be there on some other day, perhaps for real. Sobering times. We do what we can.

Taibbi Does Friedman

crossposted 18 january 2009 firedoglake


Hilarious smackdown of Friedman's new book by Matt Taibbi in the nypress: "How Green Was My Mustache"

Cartoon here.

So, why does it matter whether Friedman makes any sense? Who cares?

Friedman’s language choices over the years have been highly revealing: When a man who thinks you need to break a vase to get the water out of it starts arguing that you need to invade a country in order to change the minds of its people, you might want to start paying attention to how his approach to the vase problem worked out.Thomas Friedman is not a president, a pope, a general on the field of battle or any other kind of man of action. He doesn’t actually do anything apart from talk about shit in a newspaper. So in my mind it’s highly relevant if his manner of speaking is fucked.

Taibbi then eviscerates Friedman's method of social science research consisting of flying around the world and talking about what he sees out of his hotel room window. At the end he explains the real world consequences of printing such foolishness:

California Suspends Payments to Disabled, Tax Refunds Feb 1

crossposted 16 january 2009 firedoglake

Empty refrigerator

Evan Halper of the LA Times has this sobering news:

Reporting from Sacramento -- State Controller John Chiang announced today that his office would suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, as a result of the state's cash crisis.

Whew - good thing none of those folks were counting on that money. People on welfare have other ways to get by, I'm sure. And students - let them eat Ramen.

Chiang said he had no choice but to stop making some $3.7 billion in payments in the absence of action by the governor and lawmakers to close the state's nearly $42-billion budget deficit. More than half of those payments are tax refunds.

Wonder what happens to all the folks who took out loans based on getting those tax refunds.

The controller said the suspended payments could be rolled into IOUs if California still lacked sufficient cash to pay its bills come March or April.


The payments to be frozen include nearly $2 billion in tax refunds; $300 million in cash grants for needy families and the aged, blind and disabled; and $13 million in grants for college students.

Needy families - aged - blind - disabled. Look at what we have become.  For shame.

Bush's Farewell Address

crossposted 15 january 2009 at firedoglake

It is Tuesday yet?

The real speech:

Part One

Part Two

And in case you are really suffering from insomnia, The transcript

We Won. Now What?

crossposted as Pull Up a Chair 24 january 2009 at firedoglake


What a week! Trying to say "President Obama" without stopping in awe right there. He is not the answer to all our problems but isn't it amazing we have gotten this far?

Think about 4, 5, 6 years ago how bleak things were looking for our nation. It's been a long hard slog with little to show for it until recently. Suddenly there is so much potential!

In a way, we have a new problem of choosing among many attractive possibilities. We've gone from a situation where we had to fight for every inch to where we have the high ground at last. What next?

I would love to hear from fellow pups, what are your priorities in the new administration? We've seen some first steps by the new president and his team: no more torture, close Guantanamo, close the CIA prisons, return to diplomacy instead of bullying our way around the world.

What else should we be doing? What are your priorities?

And I would especially invite those who have never commented before, or rarely commented, to chime in here. It's a new day - we need everybody!

So pour yourself another cup of hot cocoa, take as many of those little marshmallows as you want, and pull up a chair....