« Hard Landings... | Main | Hard Landings II... »

April 20, 2005

Web Clippings--20050420

What I would write about if time were infinite:

http://www.comicon.com/thebeat/archives/2005/04/the_fed_goes_co.html: The Fed goes comics. Look out Marvel. Fire in the hole, DC. Guard the family jewels, Viz and Tokyopop -- there's a new comics publisher on the scene, and they've got the financials down to a science. The Federal Reserve has revamped their website, and introduced a number of educational materials to help us understand just why Alan Greenspan is one of the world's most powerful men. For those of you even more fiscally ignorant than The Beat The Federal Reserve is America's bank, and sets interest rates, and watches over much of the world's money supply. Among the items available to educators are some comics which explore what our money does and and where it came from. Here's the exciting line-up:

  1. Wishes and Rainbows: Uses a children's story to illustrate the economic problem of scarce resources and society's reactions to such problems.
  2. The Story of Money: Describes the barter system, the advantages and properties of money, various types of money, problems of too much money (inflation), and the tools of the Fed to influence the growth of the money supply.
  3. A Penny Saved: Describes what would happen if people did not save, why and how we save, why we put our savings into banks, simple and compound interest, stocks and bonds, why savings is important for the national economy.
  4. Once Upon A Dime: The barter system, invention of money, minting and printing, banks, checking accounts, inflation, central banks.
  5. Too Much, Too Little: Drawbacks of the barter system, dangers of using commodities as money, money problems during the colonial and revolutionary eras, creating a national monetary system, finding the right balance between too much and too little money, growth of state-chartered banks, use of Greenbacks during the Civil War, emergence of Populist and Greenback political parties, the banking panic of 1907, creation of the Federal Reserve System, 1913.

http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2005/04/reasons_this_co.html: Ezra Klein: Reasons This Country is Going to Need to Fix Its Health Care System and Fast: From the LA Times: "General Motors Corp. on Tuesday posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.1 billion, its worst quarter in 13 years, due to disappointing sales in the crucial North American automotive market and soaring healthcare costs. ... Other analysts, though, said GM could be holding back as part of its negotiations on healthcare costs with the United Auto Workers.... GM has warned that its U.S. healthcare costs could grow to $5.8 billion this year. Making things look as bleak as possible would help GM persuade the union to pass on some of the company's healthcare costs to its hourly workers, analysts said...

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/Steve Clemons: White House Wants to Battle On for Bolton: Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett has reported that the White House intends to power on and doesn't consider Voinovich's stand a 'no vote' yet.... I think that we actually do need more time to consolidate the case against John Bolton, to bring out the other stories which are now developing, and to have a conversation with Senators and the American public about three questions:

  1. Should 'Serial Abuse' of subordinates be not only tolerated in government, but rewarded?
  2. Should ideologically driven public servants have the ability to play it to the edge, and even over the edge, in generating their own intelligence, trying to predetermined intelligence outcomes, and have the latitude to undermine delicate Bush administration national security initiatives?
  3. Should senior level Bush administration officials be able to access the nation's most secret secrets so as to spy on colleagues, their conversations, and their comments about him? (this is what some suspect the infamous NSA intercepts may show)
  4. Should a senior Bush administration official be able to get away with such 'flagrant lying' about these issues to Congress?

There is a long list that can be added -- but let's stop there. Just a note to my friends in the White House, this is not a partisan game. Many, many Americans -- Republicans, Democrats, and Independents -- DO NOT THINK THAT WE SHOULD BE SENDING SOMEONE TO THE U.N. OF WHOM WE DO NOT FEEL PROUD...

http://www.prospect.org/weblog/archives/2005/04/index.html: TAPPED: April 2005 Archives: CONSTITUTION IN EXILE.... I'd be remiss not to direct you to Jeffrey Rosen's excellent article on the 'Constitution in Exile' movement.... There isn't... a group of people who self-identify in this way and are marching in lockstep to impose a uniform view of the Constitution.... [But] "there is clearly a group of scholars and judges who hold the view that judges should give far greater deference to what they view as core economic liberties in reviewing legislative decisions... a group whose viewpoint differs on the one hand from Scalia's federalism and originalism, and... from the tradition that largely defers to Congress on matters of economic regulation."... Given the near-total collapse of the small government program as a legislative agenda, the judicial sphere becomes the last place in which an actual shrinkage of the state might be achieved. And -- appallingly -- it's something that risks happening essentially in the dark.... [T]he overwhelming majority of people seem to have no idea that the GOP may put judges on the bench who would strike down statutes that no Republican presidential candidate would ever dare advocate repealing in public...

http://www.wonkette.com/politics/republicans/gop-activists-turn-on-their-own-040335.php: Wonkette - GOP Activists Turn On Their Own: Our condolences to new Democrat George Voinovich (R - OH). Just hours after the Ohio senator asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to 'take a little bit more time' before voting on John Bolton, Move America Forward had an attack ad ready to go. 'WIFE: Did you hear how disloyal Senator Voinovich was to Republicans and President Bush? Voinovich stood with the Democrats and refused to vote for John Bolton, the man President Bush has chosen to fight for the United States at the UN...he missed most of the Bolton confirmation hearings, but then shows up at the last minute and stabs the President and Republicans right in the back...Shame on Senator Voinovich.' HUBBY: 'It seems like Senator Voinovich has become a traitor to the Republican Party.' Want to help Move America Forward remind Republican legislators they're all George's bitches now? Then send them a few bucks...

http://www.thismodernworld.com/: This Modern World: Terrifying. This really does not bode well: Rachael Herron's new condo will ensure her financial salvation -- unless it provokes her ruin. Herron put no money down for her tidy one-bedroom, borrowing the entire purchase price of $211,000. To keep her monthly payments as low as possible, she got an adjustable-rate mortgage that won't require her to pay any principal for three years. Thanks to her 'interest-only' loan, the 911 police dispatcher was able to afford, barely, her first home. She now has a stake in California's sizzling real estate market. As her home increases in value, she plans to use some of that equity to pay down her credit cards. But Herron is also setting herself up for a day of reckoning: Nov. 1, 2007. That's when she has to start paying off her loan principal. If interest rates are higher than when she bought her home last fall -- something many economists consider probable if not inevitable -- her monthly payment will increase by as much as a third. 'I don't know what I'll do,' said Herron, 32. 'I'm already working overtime to pay my bills.' Confronted with soaring home prices, Californians are adopting a 'buy now, pay later' strategy on a massive scale. The boom in interest-only loans -- nearly half the state's home buyers used them last year, up from virtually none in 2001 -- is the engine behind California's surging home prices...

http://www.liberalsagainstterrorism.com/drupal/?q=node/867: Losing Our Voice | Liberals Against Terrorism: "This devotion to propaganda and manipulation of the media is counterproductive and futile. By pushing too pro-Bush an agenda, the credibility of these voices are tarnished beyond repair, and without credibility, they are nothing but shouting into a void. The irony is, though, that even presenting an unbiased accounting of the news warts and all in many parts of the world, such as the Middle East, would be, and has been, a big time net positive for the US. These regions are generally beset by media interests that are highly biased against the US and infused with locally themed propaganda. As such, if we can merely discuss the issues in an open way, we can establish a credibility and show the process and rationale for our policies and actions. In many ways we can sell ourselves in such a manner, more organically, without hitting the listener over the head with a litany of pro-US slogans that illicit resistance where rapport is sought. This would, at the very least, go a certain distance toward convincing people that our policies are not the product of a 'vast, masterfully orchestrated conspiracy with some master planner sitting in the AIPAC basement.' But to do this, we must be believed and to be believed we must be honest. It's not the end game, but it is a start...

Posted by DeLong at April 20, 2005 09:23 PM