Monday, March 30, 2009

Wagoner: out. Wall Street execs: remain

So John Wagoner was forced out as CEO of GM by the White House. Good. I wish they'd do the same to the banking sector but the double-standard that was on display between the TARP money and the auto bailout remains firmly in place.

Wagoner has been at the helm at GM for long enough to not be held responsible for the fact that GM is now in the toilet. I wish they could get rid of the entire tier of upper-management, but that would probably be disastrous in the short term for obvious reasons. I wish they would do the same for Wall Street and the financial sector but they won't. The financial sector guys who would be fired are the ones with their fingers on the levers that move the financial industry. Unfortunately, making cars is a lot easier to understand than whatever goes on in and around Wall Street. Someone last week (was it Obama?) called the financial sector guys suicide bombers because if they are forced out they're going to take the entire world economy with them. They have some serious bargaining chips while the auto industry execs are not that powerful and don't hold a special knowledge that makes them irreplaceable.

I accept that this could be all smoke and mirrors, that the Wall Street execs could be fired and the world economy would not fail and people who understand the industry enough to navigate out of this could be found and brought on board (also important in this exercise is the fact that the new execs would do things differently than those they replaced). But between the suicide bomber-execs and the people in Washington who believe every word they say, I don't see this as a political feasibility. Unlike the auto execs who everyone loves to crap on.

I'm also fine with the fact that just the GM CEO was booted. For one, Ford hasn't asked for federal money (yet), so they're clearly better managed than GM and the government doesn't have any leverage to push them around. Chrysler would probably be dealt the same fate except no one believes that Chrysler is going to be around any longer than they have to be. Everybody is just trying to find someone to fold Chrysler into, so there is no point in firing an exec if he is just trying to shut his company down ASAP.

It is disheartening that there is political will to play hard ball with the auto industry and not Wall Street, but I suppose this is the reality of the situation and I admit that it is possible that the Wall Street execs could be so specialized that they are the only ones who can lead the financial sector back into solid ground.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Very Interesting

So I guess the Tennessee legislature has 99 people in it and the Rs hold a 50-49 advantage.

So how do the Ds retain power? By getting one R to vote for himself for Speaker and then have every other D vote for the same guy.

Pretty amazing. Read the whole story here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bush's Legacy

Benen (and Digby) put it better than I ever could:
It must be comforting for Bush, Rice, and other top officials in the administration to think this way. It's no doubt frustrating to wake up every morning, and go to work knowing that you're reviled by most of the public, here and around the world. If you can convince yourself that you'll be appreciated years from now, it probably takes the edge off.

But that doesn't make it true. Indeed, wishful thinking about history's judgment, in the midst of widespread failures in every aspect of government -- foreign policy, economic policy, constitutional policy, domestic policy, environmental policy -- borders on delusional.

As Digby concluded, Bush and his team "need accept that the best they can hope for is to end up among history's inept clowns instead of history's villains. It's not much, but it's all they've got."

I sometimes and reluctant to go on the record with predictions that could prove wrong. That said, the Bush administration will surely be seen as one of the worst in US history by me, my children, and my grandchildren.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MN Senate: UPDATE

As commenter Joanie points out, Wonkette has a pretty good take on the Lizard People thing.

Original post is here.

Oh yeah, and it looks like Franken is going to win this one although Lizard People has (have?) yet to concede the race.

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Tom Friedman is dumb

While Matt Taibbi, evidently, can see into the future.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Krugman Speaks

We should listen:
Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

After all, that’s why so many people trusted Mr. Madoff.

Now, as we survey the wreckage and try to understand how things can have gone so wrong, so fast, the answer is actually quite simple: What we’re looking at now are the consequences of a world gone Madoff.
The column is from last Friday, I somehow missed it and I've been bad at blogging the last few days, so here you go.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

MN Senate

The Update is live streaming the canvassing board meeting today as they take up the challenged ballots. When I clicked on the link, I was expecting anything interesting but that was not the case.

The board - made up of 2 supreme court justices, 2 elections officials and the Secretary of State - was discussing if they should count the vote for a guy who filled in the Franken bubble but wrote the name "Lizard People" in the space for a write in.

It is actually pretty interesting to see all these challenges discussed and determined by a board of election officials.

Someone just pulled the same trick and wrote in "Flying Spaghetti Monster"! Hilarious!

Sean Hannity

Media Matters Misinformer of the year.

I can't think of anyone less concerned with facts who would be better for this award.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Juan Williams.

Is dumb