This is very entertaining and Tito makes the key point at the end.
He's wearing the shades because he has an "eye problem."
Tim was one of four boys selected by his own teammates for the sixth grade Little League football All Star game. And he was the only lineman selected. I suspect that the other teams involved will also pick few lineman (lets face it; the line is not the flash place to be in football) so he's likely to play every down.
in the last two weeks Tim's team beat Yonkers by a lot to nothing, and then lost last week to White Plains in overtime, 29-28. That's a great job by Tim's team, since Ossining runs three teams in the 5th-6th grade league, and Yonkers and White Plains are much bigger locales with a bigger pool of players.
This from the Yonkers game; Tim is #77
On the defensive line - check the size of the Yonkers boy to Tim's right! 6th grade? Did he drive to the field? But Tim did well when he was head to head with him -
Here's White Plains - first picture is the pre-game psyche up
The White Plains ballcarrier eluded the first tackler - but then Tim buried him ...
I find Rush entertaining to listen to, and agree with his views about 75% of the time. He rarely gives interviews, but here's one:
Inside the control booth there is a staff of three: Jim, a sound engineer wearing headphones; Dawn, a stenographer with long blonde hair (who sends Limbaugh real-time transcripts of on-air phone-ins), and his long-time producer Bo Snerdly, a tall, well-cushioned Afro-American with an affable manner, a flat cap on backwards and spectacles dangling from a cord around his neck.
Limbaugh does not have sidekicks with him on air, but he does keep up a running conversation with Snerdly, who is almost as Right wing as he is. They banter via an internal talk-back circuit. Snerdly has his own twice-weekly spot on air in which he introduces himself as an 'African-American-in-good-standing-and-certified-black-enough-to-criticise-Obamaguy.' It is a deliberately insensate but amusing take on the race issue in this election. What Left-wingers, or 'Rush-deniers', as he calls them, don't get about the self-aggrandising Limbaugh is that he is first and foremost a satirist: funny, self-mocking and entertaining. He couldn't have held his audience for 20 years if he was only nasty, bigoted and extremely Right wing.
I never had him figured as an emotional man. Isn't his whole shtick that you have to think not feel? 'Don't cry easily. Get close to crying then I stop it. A movie or a book will get me misty-eyed. It's always happy ending good stuff that gets me crying, not bad stuff.'
'Last time?' Long pause. 'Last time was when my little cat died. Five years old. Had a stroke. I had two cats and this one had the personality and almost humanlike behaviour. Pets are like sports: you think you can invest a lot in them without consequences.'
And like wives. He has been married three times, though he hasn't had any children. He met his current girlfriend, a West Palm Beach events planner, last year. When I ask about the ups and downs in his personal relationships he hesitates again. 'I would find myself very difficult to live with because I am totally self-contained and resent having to do things I don't want to do. Now I can choose. When I'm put in a position where I don't want to be there, I make sure everyone else is miserable.'
That's some confession, even for a thick-skinned man. He seems to know himself well, knows he can be selfish and that he cuts quite a lonely figure – just him and his remaining cat rattling around in that big house. He also knows he is easily bored. 'I don't have guests on my show because I don't care what other people think,' he tells me. 'Most guests are boring.' But it's not only others he is bored with, it is also, perhaps, himself. This may be what explains his recklessness, his bravado, his determination to say the unsayable. And perhaps it also explains why he never misses a beat, until you draw him out about himself — how he is difficult to live with, how he cried when his cat died, how, to his surprise, he found it helpful talking to a therapist. Only then does he hesitate. As we part he bets me a cigar from Desmond Sautter's of Mayfair that Obama won't win. I'd better go and choose one.
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a very amusing, only somewht tongue-in-cheek op ed discussing McCain and Obama. Hit the link and spend four minutes reading the whole article (may take several tries if you use internet explorer or aol, but it will open eventually). Some excerpts below the link:
To state the obvious: The valuation of an individual stock reflects the collective expectation of investors about a company's future ... and the same is true of the market as a whole. ... profits, in turn, are greatly influenced by government policy on taxes, spending, subsidies, environmental and other regulations, labor laws, and the corporate legal climate. Investors have heard enough from both candidates in the last month or two to conclude that prospects for a flourishing, competitive, growing and reasonably free economy in a McCain administration are bad, and in an Obama administration far worse. (In fact, the market's bearish behavior over the last couple of months pretty closely tracks Barack Obama's gains.)
If you don't believe me, please answer a few questions:
- Have you thought of what a gradual doubling (and indexation) of the minimum wage, sailing through a veto-proof and filibuster-proof Congress, would do to inflation, unemployment and corporate profits? The market now has.
- Have you thought of how a Health and Human Services Secretary Hillary Clinton would fix drug prices (generously allowing 10% over the cost of raw materials), and what this would do to the financial health of the pharmaceutical industry (not to mention the nondiscovery of lifesaving drugs)? The market now has.
- Have you thought of what confiscatory "windfall profits" taxes on oil companies would do to exploration, supply and prices? The market now has.
- Have you thought of how the nationalization of health insurance, the mandated coverage of ever more -- and more exotic -- risks, ... would affect the insurance industry? The market now has.
I could go on, but you get the point. Nothing reveals Mr. Obama's visceral hostility to business more than the constant urging of our best and brightest to desert the productive private sector ("greed") and go into public service like politics or community organizing (i.e., organizing people to press government for more handouts). Who in his ideal world would bake our bread, make our shoes and computers, and pilot our airplanes is not clear.
And if you think all this comes from an ardent John McCain fan, you couldn't be more wrong. The Arizona Senator has made some terrible mistakes, one of them trying to out-demagogue Mr. Obama to the economic illiterates. This kind of pandering never works. Such populists and other economic illiterates will always go for the genuine article.
Mr. McCain should have asked some simple questions -- pertinent, educational and easily understood by ordinary voters. Such as:
- If the rise in the price of oil from $70 to $140 was due to "greed" (the all-purpose explanation of the other side for every economic problem), was the fall from $140 to $70 due to a sudden outbreak of altruism?
- If a bank is guilty both for rejecting a mortgage ("redlining") and for approving it ("greed" -- see above), how might a bank president keep his business out of trouble with the law?
- If we bemoan the sending of $750 billion a year to our enemies for imported oil, which party has prevented domestic drilling for decades that would have made us more self-sufficient?
None of these questions have been asked loudly or often enough, while the other message -- everything is bad, it's all Bush's fault, and McCain=Bush -- has sunk in. ...
The market is forward looking. If it is unhappy with a president, it does not wait almost eight years before the numbers reflect it. If it really anticipated good times under Mr. Obama, the market would have gained 40% in anticipation of the transition. By losing that much, it seems to be saying the opposite.
The silver lining in all this is that the market has already "discounted" an Obama win, so if that happens you won't wake up on Nov. 5 to find your remaining savings down the drain. If the unexpected happens, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.
Is it $250,000? $200,000? $150,000? As we still wait for the Clinton circa 1992 middle class tax cut.
... on Monday Joe Biden put the tax-cut income threshold at $150,000 in an interview with a TV station in his beloved Scranton Pennsylvania ...
Just as Bill Clinton promised a "middle-class tax cut" in 1992 only to raise taxes on the middle class in 1993, Mr. Obama will quickly find that his tax-revenue math doesn't add up. Add in the demands on Capitol Hill to spend more and to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, and our bet is that even $150,000 would soon prove to be a moving tax target. Remember when the AMT was only supposed to hit 21 millionaires? Next year, without relief, it could hit 26 million taxpayers. Tax increases always hit the middle class because that's where the money is.
This Nov. 7th headline: "Obama loss traced to Tom Faranda" prompted the video below. "Todd Graham" lives down the street from me...
Howzzat! Thank you Greg...
Go here first CNNBC video and then watch below -
This is scary. Very scary. Of course like many ideas in the legal and political world at first blush it seems petty fair and "just." Combine the WSJ op ed below with Another Barack Obama interview as he discusses the best way to "redistribute wealth"
Speaking in July 2007 at a conference of Planned Parenthood, he said: "[W]e need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."
On this view, plaintiffs should usually win against defendants in civil cases; criminals in cases against the police; consumers, employees and stockholders in suits brought against corporations; and citizens in suits brought against the government. Empathy, not justice, ought to be the mission of the federal courts, and the redistribution of wealth should be their mantra.
In a Sept. 6, 2001, interview with Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM, Mr. Obama noted that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren "never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society," and "to that extent as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical."
He also noted that the Court "didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted." That is to say, he noted that the U.S. Constitution as written is only a guarantee of negative liberties from government -- and not an entitlement to a right to welfare or economic justice.
This op ed in the Wall Street Journal from a few days ago lays it all out. The whole fantasy that Obama has laid out as his economic plan. But if he gets in, the fault is with McCain for not exposing the
The entire article is well worth reading - only an excerpt below.
A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money. Altogether, Mr. Obama is promising at least $4.3 trillion of increased spending and reduced tax revenue from 2009 to 2018 -- roughly an extra $430 billion a year by 2012-2013.
How is he going to pay for it?
Raising the tax rates on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $200,000-$250,000, and phasing out their exemptions and deductions, can raise only a small fraction of the amount. Even if we have a strong economy, Mr. Obama's proposed tax hikes on the dwindling ranks of high earners would be unlikely to raise much more than $30 billion-$35 billion a year by 2012.
Besides, Mr. Obama does not claim he can finance his ambitious plans for tax credits, health insurance, etc. by taxing the rich. On the contrary, he has an even less likely revenue source in mind.
In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on Aug. 28, Mr. Obama said, "I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime -- by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens." That comment refers to $924.1 billion over 10 years from what the TPC wisely labels "unverifiable revenue raisers." To put that huge figure in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office optimistically expects a total of $3.7 trillion from corporate taxes over that period. In other words, Mr. Obama is counting on increasing corporate tax collections by more than 25% simply by closing "loopholes" and complaining about foreign "tax havens."
Nobody, including the Tax Policy Center, believes that is remotely feasible. ...
The Joint Tax Committee reports that the bottom 60% of taxpayers with incomes below $50,000 paid less than 1% of the federal income tax in 2006, while the 3.3% with incomes above $200,000 paid more than 58%. Most of Mr. Obama's tax rebates go to the bottom 60%. They can't possibly be financed by shifting an even larger share of the tax burden to the top 3.3%.
Mr. Obama has offered no clue as to how he intends to pay for his health-insurance plans, or doubling foreign aid, or any of the other 175 programs he's promised to expand. Although he may hope to collect an even larger share of loot from the top of the heap, the harsh reality is that this Democrat's quest for hundreds of billions more revenue each year would have to reach deep into the pockets of the people much lower on the economic ladder. Even then he'd come up short.
I don't think the election is settled by a long shot, but this is sharp! It was posted on Donald Luskin's weblog, after someone passed it along to him.
Dear Fellow Business Owners
As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next president, and that my taxes and fees will go up in a BIG way.
To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Customer will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8-10%. I will also have to lay off six of my employees.
This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did.
I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employees cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of another fair way to approach this problem.
This is a kind of oddball posting I suppose - I mean who cares about new cell phones?
Answer: Tim and Joe BIG TIME!
Ever since I got the word from Verizon that I was eligible for a "special deal" on the family plan, including new discounted phones - and I was dumb enough to mention this to Tim - they have been bugging me. Especially Tim has been after me. One of the phone options is the "juke" which also plays music, and holds LOTS of songs. And they both wanted it. Not quite sure why, since they both have iPODS, but they did.
So we got the phones tonite, after much waiting around and going from the Verizon kiosk at the Jefferson Valley mall to their center in Lake Mohegan. An annoying two hours - at times I thought I was at the motor vehicle department...
We ended up getting "jukes" for the boys and three more conventional motorola phones called "motos". The third one is for my friend and business associate Judy who is also on the plan.
Here's a picture - the "jukes" are the much smaller and thinner phones - you can see one opened and one closed, and then the more conventional "motos". The "Motos' are flip phones, but the cover of the "jukes" rotate around, in an odd kind of manner. Reminds me of flipping a pocket knife open.
As we drove home Joe started looking at and comparing my phone with his. Joe of course is the official IT guy of Faranda & Associates Joe Faranda, official Information Technology (IT) consultant to Thomas G. Faranda & Associates - he's a geek with a personality.
Here was his first comment. "Ohh, Dad, you got an old person phone. . . Bigger buttons. . . And a . . bigger screen. You know, you can get a phone with even bigger buttons then this, and a bigger screen."
I pointed out to Joe that I could have gotten him a special child's phone that only comes with four buttons, each to dial one different phone number. Maybe that was a good option instead of the "juke." He said "I could probably re-program it".
The slightly funny - and annoying - thing is that I deliberately got the "moto" for the very reasons he mentioned - didn't care about the music and wanted bigger buttons and bigger screen. Yes, annoying.
Joe told me when we got home and were talking about the "juke" as a music box - and it plays very loudly and clearly in the speaker mode - that it was a "status" thing to have a phone that plays music. "Everyone has an iPOD", he said. He also told me that quite a few students have Blackberry's, which I find rather amazing. What do they need a Blackberry for? I don't even use one and the service is an additional $30-50 a month. But I guess if you have money to burn.
Joee got a Halloween mask at the mall - a "V is for Vendetta" mask (I didn't see the movie but Joe says it was very good).
Here he is in it. He and friends are going to wear them to school on November 5th - has something to do with Guy Faulkes.
Thanks to my friend Warren for this - heheheh.
Three men - a Canadian farmer, Osama bin Laden and a White Trash Biker are all walking together one day.
They come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it.
'I will give each of you one wish, which is three wishes in total', says the Genie.
The Canadian says, 'I am a farmer and my son will also farm. I want the land to be forever fertile in Canada '
POOF! With the blink of the Genie's eye, the land in Canada was forever fertile for farming.
Osama was amazed, so he said, 'I want a wall around Afghanistan , Palestine , Iraq and Iran so that no infidels, Americans or Canadians can come into our precious land.'
POOF! Again, with the blink of the Genie's eye, there was a huge wall around those countries.
The Biker says, 'I'm very curious.
Please tell me more about this wall.'
The Genie explains, 'Well, it's about 5,000 feet high, 5oo feet thick and completely surrounds the country. Nothing can get in or out; it's virtually impenetrable.'
The Biker sits down on his Harley, cracks a beer, lights a cigar, smiles and says,
'Fill it with water.'
This is from 2001.
Not whether it's right or wrong for the judiciary or legislature to redistribute wealth; just what's the best way to do it.
I thought the theory that the government-is-your-benevolent-father-and-will-solve-all-your-problems approach was discredited several decades ago; perhaps society needs to re-learn these lessons every so often? That this approach to solving problems sounds good ("from each according to his ability; to each according to his need"), but doesn't work?
The radio interview below is even stranger than this one A really weird 1995 video interview featuring Barack Obama
Are only republicans (or supply side independents such as myself) against the government "redistributing wealth"? Evidently not. Gallup Poll: Americans Oppose Redistributing Wealth 84% To 13% - Say Anything
And of course this is what all those refundable tax credits are Tax cuts - the 95% illusion
It's pretty straightforward, by the Washington Post columnist ... an excerpt below the link
Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the last year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one"), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?
Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the U.S. Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?
Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb.
The actor - lawyer - investor - economist - author - comedian Ben Stein (his father was economist Herbert Stein and Ben Stein is noted for his "monotonous yet humorous voice in acting" Ben Stein - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) writes an occasional column in the Sunday NY Times. And today's was really good, as he addresses the financial meltdown.
"Human beings did these things." Yes they did, and since investing and economics and business are human enterprises, and, as Fr. Shelley at Stepinac used to say, "human nature being what it is", there are going to be screw ups.
About ten days ago there was a Wall Street Journal op ed, titled The 1% Panic Information Age - WSJ.com, making the point that our models (financial models) are designed to get it right 99% of the time. The 1% that's left out of the equation is kind of like the once-a-century ocean wave that capsizes the ocean liner - it only happens once a century and you can't practically engineer against it.
Well, perhaps you can't financially engineer against the once or twice a century financial meltdown - you just have to wait for the financial ship to right itself (how's that for a cliche?).
Oh, and by the way, if history is any guide, when the financial system is falling,the people who buy up the rubble eventually make out like bandits.
If you like the excerpt, then read the whole thing - It's about another 12 paragraphs.
First, I get a certain amount of mail asking why I was unable to spot the stock market crash in advance, sell short and become rich. And why was I unable to foretell the future, so my readers could avoid losses and make money?
Well, I am just a person. I don’t have any magical powers to foresee the future. In this case, I did not foresee the catastrophic mistake, as I view it, by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to allow Lehman Brothers to fail. That failure left a gaping hole in the financial services industry, and blew away confidence that the Feds knew what they were doing.
After Lehman, I felt sure that the government would realize its mistake and issue blanket solvency guarantees to banks. But that didn’t happen, the stock market fell apart, credit went icy cold and the wheels started to come off the economy. This also took me by surprise.
Now let me move to another point: all of the recent misery, including the stock market’s plunge, the disasters at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the loss of retirement savings. These did not happen out of the blue. The catastrophe of giving bonds ratings far higher than they deserved did not happen by chance. And endlessly rosy reports from banks and investment banks about their health did not result from a butterfly flapping its wings in China.
Human beings did these things. The harm to the American people and to the world has been substantial. There has been real pain here. Why is it taking so long to find out who did what and whether laws were broken? That’s what prosecutors are for.
Very amusing. You have to laugh when Biden holds forth that Obama is more prepared then McCain to deal with foreign crises. The Biden campaign was so upset with the interview that they cancelled an interview Biden's wife was supposed to have with the station.
Why did Barack Obama’s campaign cancel a WFTV-Channel 9 interview with Jill Biden, wife of Sen. Joe Biden? The campaign cited “an unprofessional interview” WFTV’s Barbara West did Thursday with Joe Biden. In a statement Friday, Adrianne Marsh, Florida spokeswoman for Obama’s campaign, said the station, in talking with Sen. Biden, was “both combative and woefully uninformed about simple facts.” Marsh said West’s insistence that Obama was an organizer for ACORN was “100 percent false.” “In a line of questioning that would make Rush Limbaugh proud, West even went as far as to quote Karl Marx, a Communist icon, in a disturbing attempt to associate Barack Obama with socialism,” Marsh wrote. West said, “I think I asked him some pointed questions. . . . I don’t think I was rude or inconsiderate to him.”
This is strange stuff. The video has been edited with more recent statments, but there is a link given if you want to see the whole thing.
This from the Wall Street Journal - and no question, some contradictory statements here. Column is by James Rubin, an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration.
... John McCain's regular TV appearances have also made it wickedly easy to track his inconsistencies and erratic statements on key issues of war and peace.Take the wisdom of the Iraq war. Before his campaign, Sen. McCain argued that without weapons of mass destruction Iraq didn't pose a major threat and war therefore didn't make sense. On June 8, 2006, for example, he told Fox News "if we knew that he [Saddam] had no weapons of mass destruction, obviously then probably we would have continued with the sanctions." Fair enough. Disarming Iraq was the major benefit of the war and the costs have been astronomical: thousands of U.S. soldiers lost, tens of thousands wounded, $600 billion spent, respect and trust for America damaged.
But on Jan. 6, 2008, when seeking to lead the pro-war Republican Party, Mr. McCain had a different view. On "Meet the Press," Tim Russert cited President Bush's view that even if we knew Iraq had no WMD "I still would go into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein." He asked if Mr. McCain agreed. The answer: "yes."
He also has a consistency problem when it comes to diplomacy. Probably his most dramatic case of vacillation concerns Hamas. Several months ago, I released a videotape of an interview I did with Mr. McCain for SKY News shortly after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006. He said Hamas is "the government, sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them," which of course is in direct contrast to his claim now that he would be Hamas's "nightmare."
As always, this competition, which attracts entries from all ove the world, gave out awards in Paterson, NJ, home of Abbott and Costello.
Second honorable mention went to the England contestant
First honorable mention - Ireland - a nice touch as they are holding hands ...
Third Place the U.S. entry - and they only came third, despite the event being held in the U.S.!
Second place - and a SPECTACULAR effort - from Greece -
But who can argue that Poland IS ANYTHING BUT a worthy CHAMPION!
Of course the endorsement looks like a press release from the Obama campaign.
Barack Obama in the Illinois State Senate voted against a bill identical to a federal bill that passed 98-0 in the U.S. Senate. Senator Barbara Boxer, leader of the "pro-choice" brigade in the Senate said, "Of course we should treat a baby born after an abortion." And "The CDC estimates that 500 children are born every eyar after an abortion" (from the video).
The video below takes five minutes to watch and the Robert George excerpts about the same time to read.
Just for the sake of argument, though, let us assume that there could be a morally meaningful distinction between being "pro-abortion" and being "pro-choice." Who would qualify for the latter description? Barack Obama certainly would not. For, unlike his running mate Joe Biden, Obama does not think that abortion is a purely private choice that public authority should refrain from getting involved in. Now, Senator Biden is hardly pro-life. He believes that the killing of the unborn should be legally permitted and relatively unencumbered. But unlike Obama, at least Biden has sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it. If we stretch things to create a meaningful category called "pro-choice," then Biden might be a plausible candidate for the label; at least on occasions when he respects your choice or mine not to facilitate deliberate feticide.
The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, "forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead." In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.
But this barely scratches the surface of Obama's extremism. He has promised that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed "fundamental right" to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, "a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons." In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."
It gets worse. Obama, unlike even many "pro-choice" legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a "punishment" that she should not endure. He has stated that women's equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing "pro-choice" about that.
But it gets even worse. Senator Obama, despite the urging of pro-life members of his own party, has not endorsed or offered support for the Pregnant Women Support Act, the signature bill of Democrats for Life, meant to reduce abortions by providing assistance for women facing crisis pregnancies. In fact, Obama has opposed key provisions of the Act, including providing coverage of unborn children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and informed consent for women about the effects of abortion and the gestational age of their child. This legislation would not make a single abortion illegal. It simply seeks to make it easier for pregnant women to make the choice not to abort their babies. Here is a concrete test of whether Obama is "pro-choice" rather than pro-abortion. He flunked. Even Senator Edward Kennedy voted to include coverage of unborn children in S-CHIP. But Barack Obama stood resolutely with the most stalwart abortion advocates in opposing it.
It gets worse yet. In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist's unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.
You may be thinking, it can't get worse than that. But it does.
For several years, Americans have been debating the use for biomedical research of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (originally for reproductive purposes) but now left in a frozen condition in cryopreservation units. President Bush has restricted the use of federal funds for stem-cell research of the type that makes use of these embryos and destroys them in the process. I support the President's restriction, but some legislators with excellent pro-life records, including John McCain, argue that the use of federal money should be permitted where the embryos are going to be discarded or die anyway as the result of the parents' decision. Senator Obama, too, wants to lift the restriction.
But Obama would not stop there. He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This "clone and kill" bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.
Can it get still worse? Yes.
Decent people of every persuasion hold out the increasingly realistic hope of resolving the moral issue surrounding embryonic stem-cell research by developing methods to produce the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using (or producing) embryos. But when a bill was introduced in the United States Senate to put a modest amount of federal money into research to develop these methods, Barack Obama was one of the few senators who opposed it. From any rational vantage point, this is unconscionable. Why would someone not wish to find a method of producing the pluripotent cells scientists want that all Americans could enthusiastically endorse? Why create and kill human embryos when there are alternatives that do not require the taking of nascent human lives? It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.
This ultimate manifestation of Obama's extremism brings us back to the puzzle of his pro-life Catholic and Evangelical apologists.
They typically do not deny the facts I have reported. They could not; each one is a matter of public record. But despite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.
They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! "pro-choice"-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.
This is delusional.
UPDATE - S & P did downgrade and the NYT debt is now officially "junk". Could it be the end of the line for the Oakes/Sulzberger ownership? UPDATE 1-S&P slashes New York Times rating to junk | Markets | Bonds News | Reuters Why buy the paper when it's free online?
Is it poetic justice? The day they endorse Obama they achieve junk bond status? Shock! NY Times endorses Obama!!
I borrowed this image of the New York Times as fishwrap from Michelle Malkin's website -
Like all the major newspapers, the NYT has trouble selling ad space and their circulation is also declining. The internet (free news, free opinions, etc) is killing newspapers.
Disaster for my friends who view the Times as the Bible. But
alas, the Times will no doubt survive. FULL DISCLOSURE - I read it every day.
The company's stock fell more than 10 percent on Thursday, hitting its lowest level since 1991, but it pared losses to close down 5 cents at $10.63.
The newspaper said it may write down the value of its New England assets, including The Boston Globe, by up to $150 million, illustrating the dismal state of print advertising.
On Thursday, Moody's Investors Service said it might cut its ratings on the New York Times to junk territory because of revenue declines and risks associated with paying its debt.
That could make it more expensive for the company to borrow money at a time when its ad sales are declining.
"We plan to continue to explore opportunities to reduce our debt levels," Chief Executive Janet Robinson said in a statement earlier in the day.
Update: The young woman admits she made it up Michelle Malkin » BUSTED: She made it all up
The story posted online in several places sounded unreal -
This morning the NYT had an article on Hedge Funds that is quite comprehensive, without being too long.
Like most other investment vehicles these days, times are tough for Hedge Funds, with investors fleeing and some are shutting down.
The thing about Hedge Funds - what the word "hedge" relates too - is that in whatever markets they choose to enter, they can be both "long" and "short" that market. For example, if they are into stocks, they will buy (go long) some stocks, and sell (go short) others. For example, they can buy banks and sell oil companies. So in theory they are protected against broad market swings in an up or down direction.
In theory. ...
“For the past five or six years, it seemed anybody could go to their computer and print up a business card and say they were in the hedge fund business, and raise a pot of money,” said Richard H. Moore, the treasurer of North Carolina, which invests workers’ pension money in hedge funds. “That’s going to be gone forever.”
As are some hedge funds. For the first time, the industry is shrinking. Worldwide, the number of these funds dropped by 217 during the last three months, to 10,016, according to Hedge Fund Research.
I have friends and associates, former business colleagues - who chucked their insurance and securities licenses to establish hedge funds. Like it says above, it's easy to do - you just need a laptop and some business cards - and a smooth line of BS. And it's unregulated.
However, at least one of my erstwhile operators is now working in the back office of a bank. Obviously things didn't work out for him.
On the other hand, you can do phenomenally well. This guy (Lahde) is 37 years old and retiring - he worked out of London ...
But now that the days of easy money are over, some fund managers are throwing in the towel.
One manager, Andrew Lahde, was blunt about his decision.
“I was in this game for the money,” Mr. Lahde wrote to his investors recently. He made a fortune betting against the mortgage markets, calling those on the other side of his trades “idiots.”
“I have enough of my own wealth to manage,” Mr. Lahde wrote. He did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
And what wealth there has been. More than anything else, hedge funds are vehicles for their managers to take a big cut of profits. The lucrative economics of the industry is known as “two and 20.” Managers typically collect annual management fees equal to 2 percent of the assets in their funds, and, on top of that, take a 20 percent cut of any profits. Last year, one manager, John Paulson, reportedly took home $3 billion.
For more about Lahde, go here - So long, suckers. Millionaire hedge fund boss thanks 'idiot' traders and retires at 37 | Business | The Guardian
Wow. You could knock me down with a feather ... And from the Washington Post, no less...
Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says.
Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive. The McCain campaign has repeatedly complained that the mainstream media are biased toward the senator from Illinois.
Obama's coverage was more balanced during the six-week period from Sept. 8 through last Thursday, with 36 percent of the stories clearly positive, 35 percent neutral or mixed and 29 percent negative.
The study suggests that some of the negative coverage was self-induced.(?)
Incredible. Of course Democrat leaders who understand economics and business must believe that this smoke and mirrors is simply cool-sounding stuff for pre-election consumption, and will quickly be disavowed/forgotten after the great man ascends to his throne.
Obama Talks Nonsense on Tax Cuts Main Street - WSJ.com
In most parts of America, getting money back on taxes you haven't paid sounds a lot like welfare. Ah, say the Obama people, you forget: Even those who pay no income taxes pay payroll taxes for Social Security. Under the Obama plan, they say, these Americans would get an income tax credit up to $500 based on what they are paying into Social Security.
Just two little questions: If people are going to get a tax refund based on what they pay into Social Security, then we're not really talking about income tax relief, are we? And if what we're really talking about is payroll tax relief, doesn't that mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for a Social Security trust fund that is already badly underfinanced?
"You can't just cut the payroll tax because that's what funds Social Security," Mr. Goolsbee told Fox's Shepard Smith. "So if you tried to do that, you would undermine the Social Security Trust Fund."
Now, if you have been following this so far, you have learned that people who pay no income tax will get an income tax refund. You have also learned that this check will represent relief for the payroll taxes these people do pay. And you have been assured that this rebate check won't actually come out of payroll taxes, lest we harm Social Security.
Even more interesting is what Mr. Obama's "tax cuts" do to Social Security financing. As Mr. Biggs notes, had Mr. Obama proposed to pay for payroll tax relief out of, well, payroll taxes, his plan would never have a chance in Congress. Most members would look at a plan that defunded a trust fund that seniors are counting on for their retirement as political suicide.
And that leads us to the heart of this problem. If the government is going to give tax cuts to 44% of American based on their Social Security taxes -- without actually refunding to them the money they are paying into Social Security -- Mr. Obama will have to get the funds elsewhere. And this is where "general revenues" turns out to be a more agreeable way of saying "Other People's Money."
The Battleground Poll has it 48-47 - and note the trend.
Here's info on the Battleground Poll, a joint effort of Celinda Lake (D) and The Tarance Group (R).
The George Washington University Battleground Poll is a collaborative bi-partisan survey produced by Republican strategist Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Democrat Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. This national polling program is unique to the industry, in that it offers the distinct perspectives of two top pollsters from different sides of the aisle. Battleground Polls are conducted, not for the benefit of any paying client, but to give the public a look at Americans' opinions and an inside peek at strategic recommendations for both political parties.
I always like the Harry Chapin run, which takes place in Croton every October. There's a one mile "fun run" and then a serious 10K. Here are the last two, here Croton's annual "Harry Chapin Run Against Hunger", run last Sunday - and my interview with the winner and here Sunday's Harry Chapin run
This year though, I only watched the start, then had to take off to my office, where Joe and I were doing some computer work Joe Faranda, official Information Technology (IT) consultant to Thomas G. Faranda & Associates
The fans wait pensively ...
The exceptionally attractive young woman in the forground is Sue Ellen Maher, with her daughter Emily
On your mark,
Get set, and Go!
And they're gone.
I've never run more then four and a half miles in my life (when I was training for the Corporate Challenge in Manhattan, way back in the 80's - a three and a half mile run. I did it several times with my office). When I was playing rugby, I would do three mile runs at the most, for road work. As I got older, I got more and more sophisticated with quarter mile and under repeat runs, sprints, and hill work (Yikes!).
Here's my Martin Sheen story.
A year or two before he became the President in the series, The West Wing (Prez. Barrett? Bartlett? Whatever - I never watched it) I spent a couple of hours with him in a midtown Manhattan precinct lock-up. Sheen is/was an anti-war activist and we were arrested at a planned civil disobedience thing on Good Friday, ten or 11 years ago. Protest was over U.S. WMD's.
I didn't know Sheen was going to be there, but he went along with a Jesuit priest I know, Fr. Ned Murphy, who runs a grass roots anti-poverty operation in the Bronx, called POTS (Part of the Solution).
Anyway, Sheen was really a good guy - very down to earth regular person, and quite a raconteur. The sort of person you could easily hang with and have a couple of beers.
He takes his Catholicism seriously, although I find his knee jerk support for Democratic candidates very unfortunate.
He does support pro-life initiatives though, and did a commercial opposing the euthansia initiative coming up for a vote in Washington State.
Sheen said in his radio spot for "No I-1000" campaign, "It's a step backwards and I urge you to vote no." He called it a "dangerous idea that could hurt thousands of low-income people who need medical care."
Out of state euthanasia activists, including those in Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal since 1994, have thrown their support behind I-1000, hoping its passage will create a domino effect across the country. The initiative would redefine suicide as medical treatment and allow doctors to order lethal drug overdoses even if the patient is simply depressed.
Sheen warned the initiative would undermine efforts to provide quality health care for poor and low income disabled people, presenting medical insurers with suicide as a cheaper alternative. The initiative, he said, could "open up a loophole" in the law that could be used to "cut payments for the disabled and working poor, encouraging them to use assisted suicide."
A blonde goes into a coffee shop and notices there's
a 'peel and win' sticker on her coffee cup.
So she peels it off and starts screaming,
'I've won a motor home!
I've won a motor home!'
The waitress says, 'That's impossible.
The biggest prize is a free Lunch.?'
But the blonde keeps on screaming,
'I've won a motor home!
I've won a motor home!'
Finally, the manager comes over and says,
'Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you're mistaken.
You couldn't have possibly won a motor home
because we didn't have that as a prize.
The blonde says, 'No, it's not a mistake.
I've won a motor home!'
And she hands the ticket to the
manager and HE reads...
'W I N A B A G E L'
Warren Buffet is a famed value investor, and he's been doing it successfully for five decades.
Below is his oped in the NY Times from a few days ago.
By the way, the richest man in America is Bill Gates.
Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
I don’t like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I’ll follow the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then advertised: “Put your mouth where your money was.” Today my money and my mouth both say equities.
Full disclosure - I've been a member of the K of C for almost 20 years.
John Allen of NCR (National Catholic Reporter) has an interesting column on the just-released findings of a poll of Catholics and their positions on various issues, as well as political philosophy (conservative vs. moderate vs. liberal).
The poll shows a clear differentiation between "practicing" and "non-practicing" Catholics - and the bar is set pretty low for the definition of "practicing". You are defined as a practicing Catholic if you go to Mass once or twice a month (Uhhh, what happened to Sunday Mass obligation?).
Anyway, here is the article, with an excerpt below,but well worth reading in it's entirety:
The Marist College poll found that 65 percent of American Catholics are “practicing,” defined as attending Mass at least once or twice a month, while the 35 percent who don’t attend that often were defined as “non-practicing.”
In some ways, the most interesting results of the survey concern the differences between these two groups.
For example, according to the survey, 59 percent of practicing Catholics describe themselves as “pro-life,” as opposed to 44 percent of the general American population, while 65 percent of non-practicing Catholics say they are “pro-choice,” as opposed to 50 percent of the general population.
On same-sex marriage, 46 percent of non-practicing Catholics are in favor, as opposed to just 30 percent of all Americans, while 75 percent of practicing Catholics are opposed.
“Practicing Catholics hold traditional values at a rate equal to or higher than the American population at large, while non-practicing Catholics are less traditional,” Anderson said, summarizing the results.
“Catholics who are no longer practicing hold positions far outside the mainstream of Catholicism, and have significant disagreements with the moral teaching of the church," he said.
Anderson therefore called upon the media to distinguish between these two groups – practicing and non-practicing – rather than referring to Catholics as an “undifferentiated block.”
There are links in the article to some of the raw data, and here is one of them:
The Al Smith Dinner is a NY charity fundraiser held annually, which attracts all the political and media types. CBS thought McCain got the better of the jousting CBS says McCain stole the show at the Al Smith dinner last night. Here are the videos, showing the first half of each speech.
UPDATE: Here is video of both candidates speaking at the dinner McCain vs. Obama at the Al Smith dinner
This is a fundraiser put on by the Archdiocese of New York, and all the major political figures attend. If you hit the link, he did have some funny lines
McCain brought down the house, lighting up faces and shedding a room full of tears with a speech that put a fun touch on countless issues that have been leading the news over the last few weeks.
The Arizona senator touched on his age, wealth, the media, voter registration and, of course, his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama.
I thought McCain scored a lot of points in last night's debate when he brought up this guy's contact with Obama. Here's what Obama said to plumber Joe Wurzelbacher OBAMA FIRES A 'ROBIN HOOD' WARNING SHOT - New York Post :
"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama told him. "I want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too.
Then, Obama explained his trickle-up theory of economics.
"My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Last night Wurzelbacher was on Nightline:
It's not the economy, or "ending the war" or "social justice". It's promoting abortion.
The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do." -- Senator Barack Obama, speaking to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007
An interview with Obama supporters, and then attribute McCain's views to Obama. Listen to the responses.
Audio is less then three minutes
You can't make this stuff up...
Saturday we briefly met up with Milton Marah. a Christian Minister, who is a friend of our friends, the Gagnons. They met when Jeanne Marie and Damian were in the Peace Corps, quite a few years ago, and they've kept in contact with him.
Awhile ago we pitched in with a few other poeple to get Milton a computer. Saturday he missed a connecting flight out of JFK for a conference in the midwest, so he spent the night with the Gagnons, and we stopped in to meet him.
Here are 5/6th of the Gagnons with Milton (Monica is missing, on a visit to Canada). From left to right is Philip, Nate, Kathleen, Milton, Damian and Jeanne Marie.
Very sadly, Sierra Leone has enormous problems. Coincidentally, The Washington Post had an article Sunday about maternal mortality - chance of a woman dying during childbirth is 1in 8. That's not a typo - 1 in 8, according to the Washington post. Astonishing and horrible.
I hope that McCain brings this up in the debate tonight. He should have brought it up in the first two, but instead allowed Obama to continue make the farcical statement that 95% of "working families" are going to get a tax break.
McCain's failure to call Obama on these sort of egregiously dishonest assertions is inexplicable and if McCain loses he has no one to blame but himself.
I previously posted about this here: Great feature article on the Obama tax plan
And here's an editorial from the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago -
One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." ...
It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."
For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals ...
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.
The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.
The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.
Rampant dishonesty. A direct transfer of welfare payments from the 56% of people paying taxes, to the 44% who will pay none. Tax credit welfare state four times actual cash welfare.
Simple honesty should require calling this transfer what it really is - a welfare payment. If the voters agree, that's fine, but don't phoney it up by calling it a tax cut.
An interesting op ed in the Wall Street Journal. Sure to irritate some of my friends. Excerpts below, but click through to read the whole thing (if you use internet explorer or AOL you may have to hit the link several times).
...it's a safe bet that the era of American dominance will not be brought to a close by credit default swaps, mark-to-market accounting or (even) Barney Frank.
Not that there's a shortage of invitations to believe otherwise. Almost in unison, Germany's finance minister, Russia's prime minister and Iran's president predict the end of U.S. "hegemony," financial and/or otherwise. The New York Times weighs in with meditations on "A Power That May Not Stay So Super." Der Spiegel gives us "The End of Hubris." Guardian columnist John Gray sees "A Shattering Moment in America's Fall From Power."
Much of this is said, or written, with ill-disguised glee. But when the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under. Before yesterday's surge, the Dow had dropped 25% in three months. But that only means it had outperformed nearly every single major foreign stock exchange, including Germany's XETRADAX (down 28%) China's Shanghai exchange (down 30%), Japan's NIKK225 (down 37%), Brazil's BOVESPA (down 41%) and Russia RTSI (down 61%). These contrasts are a useful demonstration that America's financial woes are nobody else's gain.
Nor does the U.S. seem all that badly off, comparatively speaking, when it comes to its ability to finance a bailout. Last month's $700 billion bailout package seems staggeringly large, but it amounts to a little more than 5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Compare that to Germany's $400 billion to $536 billion rescue package (between 12% and 16% of its GDP), or Britain's $835 billion plan (30%).
The rally of a bit over 11% in stock values was the fifth largest gain by percent in history. and it wasn't surprising. The financial panic - my musings .
And thankfully the government bailout/rescue plan no longer has as it's linchpin buying up bad real estate investments. Instead, they are going to recapitalize banks, by funding them and then owning preferred stock (Unlike comon stock, preferred stock does not have voting rights, but it is senior to common stock when it comes to dividends. In other words, the preferred shareholder gets paid before the common stockholder gets a dividend. On the other hand, common stock prices will rise if the company earnings go up, while preferred shares tend not to. BUT, see below - the government will also probably be getting warrants.) this idea is very similar to this one, This is the financial arrangement (bailout) I would go for which I posted September 27th, from the Wall Street Journal.
It is also what is being done in Europe, along with the Europeans guaranteeing interbank loans. So that forced the hand of our government because if we didn't do the same, all the banking business would move to Europe!
Here's what the Journal had to say last night - you may not be able to access the whole article if you are not a subscriber -
As part of its new plan, the government is set to buy preferred equity stakes in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of New York Mellon and State Street, according to people familiar with the matter.
Not all of the banks involved are happy with the move, but agreed under pressure from the government. All told, the moves tie the banking sector to the federal government for years to come. The comprehensive approach rivals the breadth of the government's response to the Great Depression. As a result, taxpayers now have a direct stake in the future of American finance. Along with the government's involvement come certain restrictions, such as caps on executive pay.
Treasury will buy $25 billion in preferred stock in Bank of America, J.P Morgan and Citigroup; between $20 billion and $25 billion in Wells Fargo; $10 billion in Goldman and Morgan Stanley; and between $2 billion and $3 billion in Bank of New York Mellon and State Street. It was unclear whether the Bank of America stake included Merrill, which the bank has a deal to acquire.
The FDIC is expected to temporarily guarantee new debt issued by banks and thrifts for three years. One of the major problems plaguing credit markets in recent weeks has been a fear among financial institutions that it is unsafe to lend to each other even for short periods of a few days. U.S. officials hope this debt guarantee will remove that fear and encourage banks to start lending to each other again. That in turn could bring down some critical short-term lending rates, such as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which is a benchmark for many consumer and business loans.
While the Treasury wants to put money into banks, its main goal is to attract private capital. To make sure private investors aren't scared away, the Treasury is expected to structure its investment on terms favorable to the banks and will inject capital in exchange for preferred shares or warrants, these people said, a move that is designed to not hurt existing shareholders.
Note that this does not "nationalize" or "socialize" the banks. Ownership and control is still in the hands of the common stockholders BUT obviously the government with the recapitilization will exercise mucho influence.
Also, the government will hold warrants, which are basically options which don't expire, to buy common stock at a certain price. This means there is a possibility ( a very good possiblity) that the government and the taxpayers could make money in the long run.
For example, Citicorp closed yesterday with a stock price of 15.75. If the government holds warrants for stock that are exercisable at a price of, say 25, then if the common stock in the future goes above 25, the warrants can either be sold to investors at a profit, or exercised. If Citicorp common stock is at 30, then exercising the warrant at 25 is a $5 a share profit. That's basically how it works.
To read the Washington Post analysis, which is free, go here: Bank Executives Agree to Accept Taxpayer Investments - washingtonpost.com. The NYT story, also free, is here: U.S. Investing $250 Billion in Banks - NYTimes.com