Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You really have to hand it to the Republicans.

The Democrats introduce a financial reform bill which, among many other things, prohibits the use of tax dollars to bail out banks.

The Republicans loudly object because, they say, the Democrats' bill allows the use of tax dollars to bail out banks.

Then the Republicans introduce their own bill which, they say, prohibits the use of tax dollars to bail out banks.

As my almost-three-year-old granddaughter said when she couldn’t get some pieces of avocado onto her fork, “Slippery little guys, aren’t they!”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'll Be Away for Two Weeks

I'm off in a few hours to attend the annual NARP directors' meeting in Washington, DC.

NARP is the National Association of Railroad Passengers and is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for a national system of more and better passenger trains of all kinds.

I'll have my laptop and may find time for an occasional post and will be back home on May 6th.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hedging Their Bets

Over the past year or so, we’ve been hearing about “hedge funds” and, I confess, I have had no real idea what they were all about. So I asked a financial advisor and got a lengthy and involved answer. Nevertheless, it distilled down to this.

A hedge fund is like a mutual fund, comprised of a number of investments … with one main difference: they are very high risk, but offer very high rewards. Basically, hedge funds are designed for the very, very, very wealthy … people who can affords to risk millions in the hope of making even more millions.

Hedge fund managers are the people who buy and sell within their respective funds. The good ones make many millions of dollars for their investors.

And they get paid very well indeed. How well?

In 2009, which was a crappy year for the vast majority of working Americans, the top 25 hedge fund managers were paid an average of about one billion dollars each. That’s billion with a “B” and that’s for one year’s work. How’s this for a contrast: A rough calculation indicates that much money would pay for 50,000 new teachers for ten years.

And all 41 Senate Republicans say they are going to vote against the financial reform package.

What a disgrace.


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Ideology Stays In Tact, No Matter What

Let's see ... the economy of the entire globe came close to going into the dumper and everyone agrees that it was greedy Wall Street bosses taking crazy risks that played the major role in the near-disaster.

So the Obama Administration introduces a bill to implement new rules and regulations, along with closer scrutiny by the federal government.

And the Republicans, after first demanding a bi-partisan approach to any new legislation, are once again united in opposing the proposed new law. All 41 senators -- every last mother's son of 'em -- will vote against the bill.

I am not surprised to see the Republicans knee-jerking in opposition to whatever Obama proposes. And it will be delicious watching Republican rising in defense of the Wall Street moguls ... the same bozos who took all those millions in bonuses. But I am continuously astonished that rank-and-file Republicans aren't starting to feel humiliated and deeply embarassed over these selfish and cynical partisan tactics.

What the hell happened to "Country First", folks??

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Well ... OK ... I Guess You Got Me.

No wonder we don't seem to be convincing any of these people!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mine Disaster Raises Important Questions

The loss of 29 lives in a West Virginia coal mine has focused attention on two important issues.

The first is mine safety, of course. That issue has been brought into focus by the news that the mine operator, Massey Energy, has previously been cited many hundreds of times for safety violations. Mine owner, Don Blankenship, clearly doesn’t give a damn – as a practical matter, because paying the fine for most violations is cheaper than fixing the problem, and as an ideological matter, because Blankenship is a red-white-and-blue Tea Party member ... anti-gubmint, anti-union rants at rallies, church socials and bar-mitzvahs a speciality.

The second issue is the right of a miner to join a union. Blankenship has often bragged that he got the union kicked out of his company. It’s easy to guess why. Without the protection of a union contract, how many miners working for a guy like Don Blankenship would be willing to make an official complaint about a safety violation? Right. No one … certainly not anyone who wanted to keep his job.

We can only wonder how many of those 29 coalminers would still be alive if they had been in a union.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Doing Their Best to Create a Successful Disaster

The far-right crazies like Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Glenn Beck of Fox 'News' think the 2010 Census is an insidious plot and are urging people not to comply by refusing to fill out most of the information asked for on the census forms.

Bachmann has warned people not to report the number of family members in the household because she’s afraid the government will use that information to round people up and throw them into concentration camps. (Yes, she really did … and you’re right: she’s completely batty.)

Of course, the Census is used by the federal government – and state and local governments, too – to determine how much funding should go to towns and cities and counties and states. Or how many police are needed. Or if a new fire station is warranted. So the people who believe Bachmann or Beck and do as they ask could end up short-changing their own communities. But there’s another wonderful irony to this lunacy because information gathered by the Census is also used to determine if the population of a district has grown enough to warrant an additional state senator or member of Congress.

And, since these loonies are invariably Republicans (with an occasional Libertarian thrown in), guess which political party stands to lose out if any significant number of people do what these ding-bats are asking!

Right! And if that isn’t justice, I don’t know what is.