Friday, March 6, 2009

When Krugman's right...

Sometimes criticism of the Administration is fair, and in the case of the latest from Paul Krugman on the "dithering" about the Bank's more than fair.

The difference with this column is that instead of Krugman just telling you its a bad idea, ignorant of the political "facts on the ground". He takes the time to explain what's happening, and why (even though they're guesses).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vicious...Vicious...Vicious... (VIDEO)

Possibly the most vicious, most evil...and thus funniest moment in the Daily Show's history.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From Russia with Nyet...

I guess a Missile Shield is going into Poland after all...

Russia would be willing to discuss a new missile defense structure with the United States but sees Iran's nuclear program as a separate issue, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

Asked about a report in the New York Times that U.S. President Barack Obama had written to him offering to back off deploying a new missile system in Eastern Europe in return for help with the Iranians, Medvedev said signals from Washington were positive but the two issues were separate.

"If we are talking about any "swaps" (Iran for missile defense), this is not how the question is being put. This would not be productive," Medvedev told a news conference in Madrid, where he was on a state visit.

But he added: "If the new (U.S.) administration shows common sense and offers a new (missile defense) structure which would satisfy European (needs) ... and would be acceptable for us, we are ready to discuss it."

"I count on positive signals we are now receiving from Washington translating into agreements," Medvedev said.

I didn't appreciate the common sense crack.

The New York Times put it a little less harshly:

On Tuesday, President Dmitri A. Medvedev offered a measured response, saying that the Kremlin was “working very closely with our U.S. colleagues on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program,” but not in the context of the American missile defense plan.
“No one links these issues to any exchange, especially on the Iran issue,” Interfax reported that Mr. Medvedev said at a news conference in Madrid, where he was visiting to boost economic and political ties.

Uhh...we just did.

Listen, we've put it as plainly as we can put it. I am no fan of the Missile Shield, because in the end any WMD that's sent our way is going to be an Al-Queda suitcase bomb, something a missile shield can't stop. At the same time, I would like to remind our Russian (cough) friends, that the Missile Shield isn't targeting them, it's for Iran, more than likely in the event they try to strike Israel. We're just saying help us make sure Iran doesn't get the bomb, and we don't need a dang missile shield.

But at the same time, the article says that the letter hasn't been recieved yet, and hasn't been answered yet. You could assume this is posturing on the part of Putin---errrr, sorry, I meant Medvedev, Medvedev!

One-hundred egos...

Once again, a scumbag Senator is holding up not just one, but two of the President's nominees, this time in the field of science: John Holdren, who is in line to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, Obama's nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

We should rise up, tar and feather the dirtbag Republican Senator who--

Excuse me, what was that?

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has placed a "hold" that blocks votes on confirming Harvard University physicist John Holdren, who is in line to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, Obama's nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to sources who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, Menendez is using the holds as leverage to get Senate leaders' attention for a matter related to Cuba rather than questioning the nominees' credentials.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), said of Menendez's objections, "We will work to try to address any concerns that he may have."

This is a slightly personal matter to me, as I met Dr. Holdren when he presented an award to my dear old Dad in 2007.

Needless to say, despite the fact that this situation is being driven by an allegedly fellow Democrat, my assessment of the situation is no less harsh.

Mr. Menendez:

You barely won re-election, and maybe the reason it was so close because of narrow-ass bull@$# thinking like this.  So shut up, drop the hold or get nothing from this President ever again in the future, because Obama's carrying New Jersey in 2012 with or without you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The power of talking?

Last month, I wrote:

Our new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added an interesting litle kicker. "Gee, of course, if we had help with the Iran-going-nuclear-problem, it'd make this whole missile shield thing go away even faster."
I figured this was a big Valentine's Day card to the Russians.

Looks like I may have been right.

Well, according to the New York Times, it went a little further than a hint in Reuters:

President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.

Moscow has not responded to the letter that was hand-delivered to President Dmitri A. Medvedev, above, three weeks ago.

The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

This officially falls into the let's take what we can get category.  I'm far more worried about Iran's potential nukes than Russia's current ones.  If we can get them to help us apply pressure, even a bilateral demand for IAEA inspection, good things can start happening.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"A new regulatory framework" (VIDEO)

President Barack Obama. February 24th, 2009:

"So I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary. Because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession. And to ensure that a crisis of this magnitude never happens again, I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system. It is time to put in place tough, new common-sense rules of the road so that our financial market rewards drive and innovation, and punishes short-cuts and abuse."

I imagine a good place to start would be the SEC, where...if this story from 60 Minutes is correct, the SEC Regulators are Lawyers with no experience in the fields they are regulating, and tend to come in after the bank's been robbed to assign blame and explain what happened.

I know for a lot of people (myself included) just seeing or reading the words high finance will make your eyes glaze over.  But in case you haven't heard, the laughably poor standards of the Bush Administration paled in comparison to his SEC.

We need to do better.

If you ever need to remember why regulation of Financial Markets is vital and important, just watch this 14 minute piece from 60 Minutes.