Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New sign of the Times?

Dead newspaper walking? Yesterday shares of the NY Times closed at $3.77. That’s cheaper than the Sunday paper, which sells for four bucks. Conservatives are ringing church bells throughout the land. Scribes are not treated well in the Bible, either. Although, journalists have the only job in America protected in the Constitution.

Size matters. Long fingers in men indicate higher sperm counts, higher testosterone. A study of male stock brokers revealed those with longer ring fingers earned three times more money than the guys with short fingers. One woman drolly describes them as dipsticks.

Worst professional basketball team? That’s easy – the Washington Generals, who have lost to the Harlem Globetrotters at least a million times. The team was named in honor of Dwight Eisenhower. But did you know the teams have different owners and don’t travel together and the Generals have never been asked to throw a game? Maybe so, but they fall for the weave and the Alley Oop every time.

In his new book, The Future of Liberalism, Alan Wolfe argues that liberalism is more than temperament; it is also political tradition made legit by the people. Interesting book. Avoids the crazies on the left and right fringes. Thomas Sowell has claimed that liberals believe that people are naturally good while conservatives know that we are fundamentally bad. Wrong. Read the book to find out why.

When the new bail-out bill become effective, retirees like us will receive $250. That’s not even enough to recharge my Pacemaker. But the Mystery Woman is adamant that it is each person’s patriotic duty to spend the money wisely to benefit the economy. Already, she is giving serious thought about how she will use the money to stimulate someone. Me? I favor the mom and pop liquor store.


Max Fischer said...

$250 will buy you 66 shares of NY Times stock, less fees. Conservatives laugh at the Times' fallen stock price, probably oblivious to irony that Citibank is trading at less than $3/share. So much for GW's "ownership society" and the conservative congressional puppets that inked those deals to deregulate bank lending to such woeful depths.

The South Plainsman said...

Don't know what is ironic about Citi trading so low. The darn thing is bankrupt and would have been closed but for the fact that both political parties are so indebted to it. Check the campaign contributions. Particularly to Obama.

Wolfe's book looks interesting. May have to buy it to find out how liberalism changed from equality of opportunity to equality of result.

My "stimulus" money is going to savings.

JohnSBoles said...

I am loathe to point out that the "conservative congressional puppets" were too often giddy bystanders at the signing of various deregulation legislation by Presidents Carter and Clinton. Yes, Reagan, 41 and 43 did their part but we were absent as an effective loyal opposition.

The South Plainsman said...

Are you talking about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd? OOOPs! They are liberals, not conservatives. And who wrote the Community Reinvestment Act? Or sat on the board of Fannie Mae during the worst of the bad loans? Was that Rahm Emmanuel? A lot of other top Democrats?

Get off the koolaid, Mr. Boles.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if we can disect each statement.
(1)The Times and other papers with useless diatribe regarding the right. have quit selling because of the very up-to-date news items that you can get over the internet.Plus the fact that regardless of the liberal pundits taking the idea that everyone wants slanted news stories regardless of left or right. The people just want it correct and honest.
(2) Being among the long finger crowd,hence the moniker 'Goose'. I would like to know who stole my other 2/3 of money.
(3) The Washington Generals know where their bread comes from,so a little slide here and there is important to their income.
(4)Alan Wolfe needs a Bible, which says we are all sinners and need to be redeemed by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Political tradition has nothing to do with it.
(5)$250.00!!!! My weekly prescriptions cost more than that.However if I can keep it a secret from my wife,$250 will buy a few boxes of good ammo.

JohnSBoles said...

Apparently we are having a bit of difficulty agreeing to agree. My attempt at a point was that the Democrats have been at least equally at fault in massive deregulation that in my view has put us where we are. My suggestion includes a personal observation that free market Republicans enjoyed the Democrats assistance.

"Our free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it." Barack Obama June, 2008

The following quotes are from an article by James Ridgeway a decidedly left leaning journalist in March 2008 in Mother Jones.

"Unfortunately, the rush to deregulation began, first in the transportation sector. Efforts begun under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford came to fruition under Jimmy Carter, who hired deregulation guru Alfred E. Kahn to head the Civil Aeronautics Board, the widely loathed agency responsible for regulating the airline industry. Senator Ted Kennedy and his then aide, future Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, embraced deregulation as a consumer issue, and with their support, Kahn quickly worked his way out of a job: The 1978 Airline Deregulation Act dissolved the CAB and removed most regulation of commercial airlines. Carter also signed into law bills deregulating the railroads and the trucking industry."

The Depository Institutions Act of 1982, another Reagan initiative, was supposed to "revitalize" the housing industry by freeing up the S&Ls to make more loans. Instead, the regulation rollback led to what economist John Kenneth Galbraith called "the largest and costliest venture in public misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time" as they engaged in a fury of high-risk lending. The collapse that followed cost taxpayers an estimated $150 billion in government bailouts, and contributed to the recession of the early 1990s.

The Glass-Steagall Act was, in fact, a primary target of the Clinton-era deregulation effort. An early piece of New Deal-era legislation, the act was passed in response to speculation and manipulation of the markets by huge banking firms, which most liberal economists believed had brought on the crash of 1929. Glass-Steagall imposed firewalls between commercial banking and investment banking, and between the banking, brokerage, and insurance industries. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and campaign contributions, "Eager to create financial supermarkets that peddle everything from checking accounts to auto insurance, the three industries for years have lobbied Congress to streamline regulatory hurdles that bar such operations."

"Passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 was celebrated in a Wall Street Journal editorial as an end to "unfair" restrictions imposed on banks during the Great Depression, under the headline "Finally, 1929 Begins to Fade." But Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, writing in Mother Jones (November 1999), warned that the legislation, which amounted to the "finance industry's deregulatory wish list," would "pave the way for a new round of record-shattering financial industry mergers, dangerously concentrating political and economic power." Mokhiber and Weissman also predicted that such mergers would eventually "create too-big-to-fail institutions that are someday likely to drain the public treasury as taxpayers bail out imperiled financial giants to protect the stability of the nation's banking system."

Bear in mind thost last sentences were written in 1999. JSB

The South Plainsman said...

My apologies, Mr. Boles.

Perhaps we can agree that the main culprit in all of this was the government, first in reducing the regulation of banks, and secondly, by pressuring the banking institutions to make unsound loans for social purposes.

One other thing is that the government has encouraged, bipartisanly,the use of excessive debt to finance consumption over the last forty years or so, both by individuals, and by the government.

This latter has resulted in more debt and more unfunded obligations of the government than could ever be paid, as well as excessive indebtedness of much of our population.

When the housing bubble, inflated by excessive debt, burst, the first impulse of the government (under George W. Bush) was to go further into debt to bail out enterprises bankrupted by their excessive leverage and their failure to use any judgment with regard to risk.

As we go forward, we see the government (now under Obama)following the same policies of going much further into debt, and encouraging the people to borrow for consumption. And of forcing literally insolvent banks to lend freely.

So we are faced with a bipartisan effort of the government to solve the very serious problems caused by excessive debt, by going even further into debt. Dunno if that makes sense to me.

My thought is that the government and the people should save their money for rebuilding a shattered economy, not trying to save the failed paradigm of the past, along with the dinosaur banks that are on life support.

End of rant.

JohnSBoles said...

Apology accepted of course but not necessary.
I'm afraid you may be right
and the end of my rant.

The South Plainsman said...

In this economy, whether liberal or conservative, we are all victims of the Golden Rule. (Them that has the gold, make the rules.

Everyone who did right...worked, saved, and did not take on excessive debt, are now going to have to pay to "save" the ones who did not. Some social justice there.

JohnSBoles said...

Small disagreement here. There are retirees I know looking for work even though they did "right". They still got screwed and some like them will also be among those that will need help. As always, difficult to separate the sheep from the goats.

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