Morning Coffee

Let’s start this off right – from Wikihow: How to recognize bias in a newspaper article – kind of basic, but neat. Double bonus points for suggesting blogs be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny (um….duh).

Following the lead of Governor Goodhair, Sarah Palin rejects stimulus funds in an attempt to increase her GOP credibility. Note that I don’t think a crane could increase her credibility with anyone remotely sane. Also, she’s only rejecting *some* of the stimulus funds. (See, this is a woman who’s high school teachers employed “partial credit” on failing exams.) In fact, she’s accepting over half the money. 69% in fact. (Yes, really. Like the best parodies – it’s both true and it writes itself.) Still 69% of 930 million dollars is a fair chunk of change. Most of it is, allegedly, being directed to capital improvement projects (which the GOP have been quick to point out aren’t really necessary, being – you know – infrastructure) and a boost to her state’s Medicaid.
And while I’m contemplating the at once amusing and yet sheer mortal terror of a Goodhair/Self-Parody 2012 GOP ticket, I should point out that Mark Sanford of South Carolina and – wait for it – Bobby Jindal have joined the ranks of the “Not taking the money” brigade. Are all of them being groomed for something? Do they think they have a shot in ’12? Well Jindal is refusing 100 million – for unemployment benefits specifically…and Sanford will take the money but – supposedly – only to pay down debt.
We’ll see about that.

Federal culpability in the AiG fiasco is starting to come to light. Christopher Dodd is coming under fire for his alleged role in changing the rules being put into place regarding an upper limit for executive compensation – at the last minute – which affects AiG and supposedly others. He claims that he was directed to do so by the Treasury department (not unlikely in my estimation) despite the fact that AiG was a big contributor to Mr. Dodd’s political campaign of last year. (A little over a hundred thousand dollars according to many sources. Which is, admittedly, pocket change to AiG.) Interesting that the above suggests legal documents between the Fed and AiG – though I suspect the “rules” spoken of were internal to the Fed. Again I repeat – if there is such a contract, I’d LOOOVE to see it.
But it gets better.
Apparently, elements of the Federal government knew about the full extent of the AiG bailouts but deliberately kept Obama in the dark which sounds a little too Iran-Contra and more than a little too Watergate to me. Of course the President didn’t know. I mean, why the fuck would he be told anything? While I can most certainly buy that keeping the boss in the dark is standard operating procedure in Washington, it still chafes.

As pressure mounted on AIG employees to return the bonuses, new details emerged yesterday about what the Fed, the Treasury Department and the White House knew regarding the payments and when. AIG executives said the Fed was informed three months ago by the company that it would pay $165 million by March 15 to employees working at its most troubled division. The Treasury and White House said they learned of the payments from Fed officials only days before they were due.

Oops. As recently as March 10, Tim Geithner was claiming to be “stunned” when the bonus payments came out. As Paul Kanjorski (congressman from Pennslyvania) said “I’m sick and tired of hearing the administration and the Secretary of the Treasury say, ‘I just found out about it.'”

In the more good news department, previous projections of the US Federal deficit are apparently inadequate to the task as
the deficit soars past previous expectations. What irritates me? The numbers being bandied about are about half of what I’ve seen to this point. I suspect another white washing occurred and I missed it. (The Federal government would never massage the numbers obviously.) Either way, even with the new math, it’s projected to grow at an estimated one trillion dollars a year for the next ten years.
Did we secretly elect Walter Mondale wearing one of those masks from the Mission Impossible movies? The Congressional Budget Offices estimates that the national debt will make up 82% of the national economy by 2019. THIS NEEDS TO STOP. The Democrats are talking about “adjustments” needing to be made to the new budget going into effect October 1. They need to be talking about Slashing Spending. Nancy Pelosi, of course, dismissed the report from the CBO. Tool.

While appearing on Jay Leno last night (for some damn reason) President Obama compares his bowling skills to participants in the Special Olympics, gets served by the media – thus eroding the cuddly bunny friendly to everyone image of the democratic party, which they have never put themselves out as but lots of people seem to think is there. (And of course, the media is spinning this as some kind of “education in humanity.” rather than what it was – a slip up.)

Both the US and Israel make appeals to Iran by tape today for…some reason. Oh, yes it’s the Persian New Year (And Happy New Year if anyone is reading from there!) but that doesn’t fully explain the sudden and erratic turn in policy – from either country. The U.S. which has been casting about for some way of putting Iran in a bad light, is now randomly being conciliatory. (Maybe they too think Iran might be invading Iraq in about two years.) While I’m not opposed to this possible shift in policy from Washington, I don’t pretend to – from the point of view of the policymakers – understand it.

France is formally requesting to rejoin NATO command – a move which will no doubt create a partisan debate for some time to come in France. I for one hope they can maintain their own way in the alliance without being compromised by U.S. foreign policy.


~ by Auntie Ranty on March 20, 2009.

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