Friday, November 6, 2009

Think I need to post something new soon...

So much has been going on that I haven't been keeping up with the blog. Really need to change that! Maybe I'll write something about this...

Overseas firms collecting most green energy money

...of the $1.05 billion in clean-energy grants handed out by the government since Sept. 1, 84 percent – a total of $849 million – has gone to foreign wind companies. Spanish utility company, Iberdrola S.A., alone has collected $545 million through its American subsidiary.

Even more striking is the fact that there are few restrictions on the how the grants can be used, according to a transcript of a Treasury Department briefing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vanity Fair is Great - Larry Summers is Not

It’s been one more month since my last post (called 3 months+).

I just received my September issue of Vanity Fair, which reminded me I wrote that I was going to blog about the August issue. So, before I plunge into “The Style Issue,” let’s backtrack a month…

I bought the issue because of all the chatter around Todd Purdum’s article about Sarah Palin. Had to read it. I thought the story about Heath Ledger might also be interesting (he’s on the cover and still selling magazines posthumously).

Both of these articles were interesting but the standouts for me where the story about Politico, the “Man Who Sank the World’s Economy” and the financial troubles at Harvard.

1) Sarah Palin. Been there, done that. The best details were actually discussed in TV interviews designed to sell the magazine.
2) Heath Ledger. I felt sorry for Michelle Williams every time the reporter wrote some sort of rumor from one of Heath’s “friends” who also happen to be promoting his last movie. Generally boring article.
3) Politico. I learned more about my favorite Washington geeks. Who knew Mike Allen got up SO early each morning? I now know sending him a 4am email might be my best bet when pitching him. Interesting to hear more about their theories on news coverage – and the future of the news industry.
4) A.I.G. Finally, a reporter does an in-depth article about what happened within A.I.G. So interesting to read something more than, “They are bad guys, but we must save them anyway, and we’ll keep them around so we can kick them and feel better.” I am continually amazed at the mistakes smart people made because they were allowed – and they won’t really lose anything because of their own bad bets.
5) Which brings me to Harvard. Talk about smart people making bad decisions and not losing anything. Next example: Larry Summers. Why is this man back in the small circle of individuals making decisions about our nation’s economy? Voting for change did not mean bringing back this guy who lost his job at Harvard – not for making bad financial decisions (which it sounds like he did), but for making stupid comments about women and science – back into the inner circles in Washington. These are the people who caused the mess we are in, but Obama reinstated as many as he could. What was the line Sarah Palin repeated endlessly? “That’s not change. That’s more of the same.”

I read August's issue cover-to-cover and ended up now, on to September!

Friday, July 10, 2009

3 months+

Facebook and Twitter have put a real damper on my blogging. It's so quick and easy to express a thought or opinion via both outlets that I have neglected taking the time to blog about anything. Time to make an effort again! In the coming days...

1) My thoughts on the current issue of Vanity Fair (read it cover-to-cover!).
2) Why did it take me so long to read Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs?!
3) And probably something about my on-going crush on Dylan Ratigan (even though his Twitter feed is really sad!).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Angry yet?


Watch this interview with William Greider (it also made me feel better - good ideas ahead).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I like this.

I'll be traveling on 4/11, but if I can find a local protest, I'll be there. "If it's too big to fail, it's too big to exist. Dismantle the power of the financial elite and make policies that keep a new crop from springing up. We want our economy and politics restored for the public."

Check out A New Way Forward!

And, read this Washington Monthly article for a little more on why breaking up the banks is a good idea.

UPDATE: If you aren't mad yet, check this out from David Sirota:

So the tab is now in - about $3 trillion of taxpayer resources have gone out the door to Wall Street banks (and that doesn't include trillions in additional loan guarantees).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Didn't We Vote for Change?

I'm finally worried.

I had high hopes for President Obama, but when it comes to the economy, I'm worried that he's just continuing more of the same. I don't know for sure that what he's doing won't work (who does?), but it really does seem like the same-old crowd who have messed up our economy are still running things, they are out of new ideas and they are just worried about saving the status quo.

I'm not so interested in the status's what got us here.

What if our auto companies can't be saved?

What if the big banks are really bankrupt and need to be broken into workable parts?

What if we just threw away $1 trillion that the taxpayers will never get back?

What if the plans we are putting in place will just continue to make rich people rich, while the rest of the country suffers?

I would feel better if the treasury's plans were being made in the light of day, with input from big thinkers of all political persuasions. I want to hear for myself the advice that is being given to the White House and Treasury Dept. I want to hear why we should save the banks. And why investors will be taking on some of the "toxic" debt with no real risk to themselves because my tax dollars will support them if their investments go south.

I am a capitalist. If a company can't survive, it should go under. Bad ideas should fail. There should be risk in the markets.

But I also have a soft spot for socialism...when it comes to people supporting people; but NOT when it comes to the people's money supporting failing, rich institutions.

I can't help but be worried when we are trusting the same people who got us into this mess to get us out.

I don't know if Geithner has the solution. I don't know if Paul Krugman can solve it. I don't know if James Galbraith is right that there is 'no return to normal.' Or if Noam Chomsky is as sure as he sounds:

But, I'd like to hear different opinions. We've all just been trusting those "in charge" for too long. Time to bring us all in on the solution (even if - especially if - that scares the bankers).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And why the press is important...explaining the mortgage crisis

I was so annoyed last week by the rant on CNBC by some guy named Santelli which was then repeated over and over and over again on NBC networks. I knew I was annoyed by a news person yelling about the federal help to stem foreclosures, but I was also annoyed that he wasn't actually explaining anything, just venting, like some crazy uncle at a family dinner who doesn't really sound like he knows what he's talking about. And that is not the role I think the news media should be playing - especially now when everyone is so worried about our personal and national future.

I came across this article from the Columbia Journalism Review, and I learned a lot more about the current foreclosure crisis. It really is amazing, and it points out that this should not be "reported" as neighbor vs. neighbor. The mortgage and banking industry took full advantage of as many people as they could, made A LOT of money for themselves and caused this mess. So, if Santelli wants to rant about something, maybe he should focus on all of our taxpayer dollars going to some of the institutions that caused this mess - with NO real consequences.

The boiling anger we’re seeing by citizen against fellow citizen is understandable given that the press still hasn’t fully told the story of the boiler rooms, “the crooked heart of the credit crisis,” as Audit managing director Dean Starkman called it.

That this burst of outrage erupted after homeowners got a (relatively meager) bailout rather than after Wall Street and the banks got their trillions ($10 trillion by Bloomberg’s count) with repeated trips to the trough illustrates as clearly as I’ve seen it the failure of the press to fully portray the real cause of this catastrophe.

Read the full piece for a decent explanation of the mortgage mess. (BTW, I was one of these people the mortgage people tried to talk into a bad loan...I had some cash to "put down" when I was looking at buying a condo in 2005 and was told that I should just finance the whole thing. I didn't move forward, but I felt very uncomfortable by the whole thing - and very confused!)

If this isn't enough, also read this critique of Santelli and his misdirected anger.

(Also, keep this article in mind while you hear about neighborhood "tea parties" being organized by people against foreclosure assistance...and against their neighbors.)

Where was the press?

Very interesting article in Mother Jones about how reporters failed the public in the current financial crisis. And summed it up as follows:

Who will blow the whistle on the next disaster in the making? Where's the next subprime mess? Barring a major reordering of resources and priorities, don't count on the business media to find out. "The press were kind of prisoners of respectability," Hudson says. "With exceptions, they really want official sources; they want official approval; they don't want to be too out front. They do a good job after the fact, but not beforehand, when it counts."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's hope this site - included in the House version of the stimulus plan - will actually share the information being promised (and I hope it makes Dylan Ratigan happy - see below!)

From The Sunlight Foundation Blog:

The Internet has been recognized as having a central — even fundamental — role in enabling oversight and public access. The gap between public expectations and legislative initiatives has become significantly smaller, as Congress and President Obama recognize that a recovery or economic stimulus without a public Web site would be an immediate public disappointment — car without a dashboard, or a school without grades. Beyond that, we’re even seeing lawmakers and staff explore the positive aspects of realtime disclosure.

Okay, I have a little crush on Dylan Ratigan, but I agree with him every time he's on Morning Joe talking about "Google for Government"'s the clip I could find of him talking about it (skip past Jim Cramer, please! Dylan starts around minute 6:00).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Guess Sami is Smart to Host The Biggest Loser

Yes, I have watched soap operas since I was 7-years-old. I was sad when Another World was cancelled, but I understood. Now, it seems I am going to have to deal with the loss of Days of Our Lives (which I even stuck with during the horrible storyline of the demon-possessed Marlena - shutter). Seems they bought themselves another 18 months of production by cutting the actors who have played John and Marlena for, well, forever. But the storylines continue to bore and viewers continue to leave, and I guess my habit of watching on Tivo (I can get through an hour-long show in about 10 minutes!) and skipping commercials is not helping. Other than investing in better writers and directors - which will cost more money, I don't have an answer.

For now, it sounds like General Hospital is safe, but I wonder for how long...

(If you need an explanation for why I watch, other than habit, this is a pretty good explanation.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Which State Showed the Highest Jump in Teen Births?

Alaska. (please read with Sarah Palin's accent.)

Wonder if anyone has asked the governor about this news?

The latest numbers are from 2006...Alaska showed the greatest increase in teen birth rates (up 19%), while the District of Columbia reported the most dramatic decline in rates (down 24%). Overall, 26 states saw increases, which researchers are saying may mark the reversal to the progress that was made in the 1990s. (Heard that about anything else?)

My former boss is quoted in the USA Today article:

But now, the new state-by-state data gives credence to the idea that this marks the reversal of the downward trend, says Kristin Moore, a senior scholar at the nonprofit Child Trends.

"It occurred among teens 15-17 and 17-19 and among whites, blacks and Hispanics, and now we know it occurred in most of the states," says Moore, who has tracked teen births for 30 years. "It appears to be quite a general pattern, which makes me think it might not be a blip but a turn-around."

(I'm slipping from my news diet, I know.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

News Diet

I am going to attempt to 'unplug' for the, no blogging related to the news. Maybe I'll discover some other fun things to blog about!

Oh No!

I can't say I've decided who to back in the Virginia governor's race, but I do know that I will not be supporting Terry McAuliffe!

Whenever he talks, he makes me think he's trying to sell me something I don't need or want (and that probably won't work anyway). And in this sort-of announcement video, he nods his head A LOT - is that a sign of lying, like blinking too much?

And his use of "hope" and "yes we can" in the video is nauseating. He can not possibly be the best candidate for governor of Virginia. So, should I back Creigh Deeds or Brian Moran? Or is anyone else going to jump into the race?