Monday, November 17, 2008

Congress takes first step on automaker bailout - Yahoo! News:
"U.S. automakers say they are urgently trying to overhaul their businesses to meet a global demand for fuel efficient products, like better performing gasoline engines, electric cars and more hybrids. But industry executives say they may never get there unless the bailout is approved. They add that the shock of any collapse will shake the economy. If the auto industry comes under severe pressure, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said in a television interview on Sunday, 'the impact on the whole U.S. economy will be devastating.' All three companies have rejected reorganizing under bankruptcy protection."

Must be nice to just reject going bankrupt. Wish I could do that. Run a business into the ground and just expect the taxpayer to bail you out. ENOUGH! GM fucked up! This state of affairs is not out of the blue. It has been predicted for YEARS. And they invested more and more into SUVs, Hummers, Cadillacs while ignoring their workers. Fail, fail, fail. Set up transition funds for the workers and that is IT!
Clinton to accept offer of secretary of state job | World news | The Guardian:
"Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialised in foreign affairs and defence. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops."

Well that didn't take long. So much for "change". Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers (potentially), Hillary Clinton (potentially), Joe Lieberman is still around for some unknown reason...WTF? Why is everyone letting Obama off the hook here? We did NOT vote for this! I think it was pretty clear that we wanted a CHANGE, not just a re-shuffling of the same players.

This is not good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 The End by Michael Lewis:
'That’s when Eisman finally got it. Here he’d been making these side bets with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the fate of the BBB tranche without fully understanding why those firms were so eager to make the bets. Now he saw. There weren’t enough Americans with shitty credit taking out loans to satisfy investors’ appetite for the end product. The firms used Eisman’s bet to synthesize more of them. Here, then, was the difference between fantasy finance and fantasy football: When a fantasy player drafts Peyton Manning, he doesn’t create a second Peyton Manning to inflate the league’s stats. But when Eisman bought a credit-default swap, he enabled Deutsche Bank to create another bond identical in every respect but one to the original. The only difference was that there was no actual homebuyer or borrower. The only assets backing the bonds were the side bets Eisman and others made with firms like Goldman Sachs. Eisman, in effect, was paying to Goldman the interest on a subprime mortgage. In fact, there was no mortgage at all. “They weren’t satisfied getting lots of unqualified borrowers to borrow money to buy a house they couldn’t afford,” Eisman says. “They were creating them out of whole cloth. One hundred times over! That’s why the losses are so much greater than the loans. But that’s when I realized they needed us to keep the machine running. I was like, This is allowed?”'

Essential exposé of the financial meltdown. It is way worse than you think.

via kottke

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama captures historic White House win - Yahoo! News:
"Obama led a Democratic electoral landslide that also expanded the party's majorities in both chambers of Congress and firmly repudiated eight years of Bush's leadership. The win by Obama, son of a black father from Kenya and white mother from Kansas, marked a milestone in U.S. history. It came 45 years after the height of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King. The announcement of Obama's win on U.S. television networks set off celebrations by supporters around the country, from Times Square in New York to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, King's home church.
'This is a great night. This is an unbelievable night,' said U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who was brutally beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, during a voting rights march in the 1960s."

One of the encouraging aspects of Obama's historic victory is that even though it is obviously historic because of his race, the reason he won had nothing to do with it. But I think as time goes by, his race will become very significant and a very, very positive thing for America. And it helps that he seems to be a serious, thoughtful, INTELLIGENT person! Now the task will be to hold his feet to the fire and push him to make the changes he seemed to run away from in his campaign. I am still very leery of the advisors he had throughout the campaign and the rumors of possible cabinet and staff members, most of whom I do not like.

So while I am pleased in his victory, and hopeful for positive things to come for us and our country, I am very cautious and guarded. This is a good first step to rectifying the past 8 years. But it is one step of a long and arduous journey ahead of us.