Archive: March, 2009
Here's what I don't get about this whole bailout thing. Let's say that I owned a house that was worth $100,000 (could happen soon, in this market) and of course I had homeowners insurance, say, with, oh, I don't know...American Insurance Group. And one day my house burns down, and I file a claim and AIG doens't have the money. They go to the government and beg for an $100,000 bailout, so they can pay me, and they get it. The same day, I go to Washington with my own hat in hand. "My house burned down. I need $100,000!"
Because in the real world, most of this money that we're paying AIG, some $170 billion, is going to banks that insured their craptacular packages of toxic mortgage loans. But these banks get bailout money, too. But why do they need the money? They have insurance, right? According to this article:
Vince Fumo, political boss, lawyer, banker, Mensa member...and convicted felon.
John Yoo grew up in the Philadelphia area and presumably got a great education at the Episcopal Academy before he headed off to the Ivy League and finally the Justice Department, where he became the nation's leading advocate...for war crimes. It is Yoo who adopted the warped and unsupported view that one terrorist attack gives the U.S. president the uncontested powers of an emperor, and that the president can use those powers to command torture, unlawful rendition or torture, and generally destroy the reputation of a country founded not really that long ago as a beacon for liberty and civil rights.
I -- and many others -- believe that Yoo's actions in the White House should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. That may happen, but for now he is still taken seriously as a constitutional expert and give all kinds of platforms to defend his views, that there was some kind of justification for the ideas that led to gross violations of law that took place at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. The latest example: An op-ed by Yoo in this Sunday's Inquirer.
This will go down as the weekend that America collectively screamed "AIGGGGG!!!!!" For a long time, outrage over the multi-multi-billion dollar black hole that was once a powerful insurance company AIG simmered rather than boiled because a) other bailout recipients like Citi and Bank of America are more visible and b) most average people have a hard time wrapping themselves around what AIG did (although blogger John Marshall has been quite good -- as always -- on this.
But news of large bonuses to AIG execs -- especially in the unit that lost all the dough -- has changed that. Now everyone is talking AIG, and it seems like the "free market" Republicans (and some of their corporatist Democrat allies) are flailing the most:
...if you care about where the future of news is going. It's written by a New York University new media guru named Clay Shirky, and it basically says that journalism is in the midst of a revolution, that the early truth-tellers were marginalized and that anyone who tells you he knows where this thing is going is lying in. (There's even a riff on the invention of the printing press in the 1500s.)
There's too many good parts to except but here's one snippet:
Just when you thought it was safe to root for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, they get "mercy-ruled" (that's an expression I never thought I'd blog), by Puerto Rico, which wasn't even a country last time I checked. Pretty sad. I think the mercy rule was put in there for teams like Italy, not the nation that allegedly invented the sport.
Don't be shocked if the mighty Netherlands gives them a handful tonight. You know, the WBC is a very good, very enjoyable event, but until they devise a way to get the likes of (ahem, ahem) Ryan Howard to participate, it won't be a great one.
The former president is certainly a suitable subject for public debate. His supporters credit him with forcing down the Iron Curtain, so it is odd that some of them have helped create the Soviet-style chill embedded in the idea that we, as a nation, will not allow critical portrayals of one of our own recent leaders.