Thursday, March 26, 2009

What Would TouchDown Jesus Do?

Oh boy, we got ourselves a ripe one.

Consider the press release, sent March 20th, by the Office of the Press Secretary, The White House

President Barack Obama to Deliver Spring 2009 Commencement Addresses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today at the White House daily press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will serve as commencement speaker at Arizona State University, the University of Notre Dame, and the United States Naval Academy this year. President Obama will address graduates, family members, and faculty at Arizona State University on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, the University of Notre Dame on Sunday, May 17, 2009, and the United States Naval Academy on Friday, May 22, 2009.

More details will be announced at a later date.

Rather perfunctory, no?

Ahhh, except that it carries the name of that heralded bastion of education (and football), the University of Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish.

And there be some a'fightin', alright.

A cacophony of voices have their Catholic School knickers all bunched up over, not just Obama speaking, but also receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame.

What's the beef?

One of the main perches of the Flying Monkeys, the National Review sees " his extreme stance on abortion, and his anti-choice actions in office so far — insofar as there is nothing pro-choice about forcing taxpayers to fund abortions abroad, or in compelling medical professionals to participate in them under pain of losing their jobs."

NRO also ran a dog-and-pony thing, a symposium - "A Moral Exemplar? Should the University of Notre Dame honor our most anti-life president?"

Another Flying Monkey biggie, Red State, is flinging their feces, advocating "Notre Dame Alumni and Supporters Should Stop Payment", for they cite "Well known are his recent decisions to force American taxpayers to subsidize both the destruction of embryos for stem cell research and the destruction of babies via abortion throughout the world ..."

Oh yeah, the big muckety-muck, Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, is going to boycott the commencement.
The Roman Catholic bishop whose diocese includes the University of Notre Dame will boycott President Obama's May 17 commencement speech there because Obama's policies on stem cell research and abortion run counter to church teaching on the sanctity of human life.
Well, all this huffing-and-puffing, all this feces-throwing, the big, screaming website you put up, you think this will be canned?
Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said Monday the university does not support all of Obama's policies. A school spokesman, Dennis Brown, said he saw no circumstances under which it would rescind the invitation.

The White House issued a statement Tuesday saying Obama welcomes the "spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues."
Here's a big hint, dwarfs, finks, phonies and frauds.

If Obama didn't cave in, at Inauguration time, on having Rick "Cone of Silence" Warren on the program, keep huffing-and-puffing, keep a good supply of feces around, you can probably come up with some other off-the-shelf, or manufactured, outrage you can use it on.

And, since you're bringing this up, where's that "Love Thy Neighbor" business, and, hows about addressing Blue Texan, over on Firedoglake;
But where were they when faculty members of the theology department at Boston College protested the announcement that BC was awarding Condoleeza Rice an honorary degree?


So, to review: a Catholic university awarding an honorary degree to a pro-choice, pro-death penalty, pro-torture warmonger = totally fine.

A Catholic university inviting a sitting Democratic President to deliver a speech = total disgrace.
And, let's not forgot, what is behind all the dogma, how you really don't have a voice at the morals table.

Not after YOUR CHURCH, YOUR CARDINALS, YOUR BISHOPS, YOUR POPES turned their backs on the horrendous sexual abuse of young boys by YOUR PRIESTS.

And, more recently, THIS.

No, you're throwing rocks from your immorally-built glass house.

Go sit down.

Bonus What Would TouchDown Jesus Do? Riffs

CNN: Pro-life group calls on Notre Dame to rescind Obama invite

Carl: The Cult Of Personality

Holly Bailey: No Wonder They Are Called the Fighting Irish

Jamison Foser: Newt Gingrich, guardian of Catholic values


Alex Koppelman: Catholics protesting Obama speech at Notre Dame

This Date ... On The Garlic

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Editor's Note - Sorry For The Light Posting

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Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chuck Todd Disappointed Americans Aren't Begging In Bread Lines

Or: "Hey Brother, Can You Spare A Good Question?"

If you are Chuck Todd, of NBC News, it must be terribly difficult to get through the day.

That screening room in his head, going on 24/7, playing all those black-and-white, or sepia-colored, reels, of shack towns, breadlines and soup kitchens, people walking miles-and-miles, carrying sacks and boxes of their possessions, must send him staggering, when he looks around, and sees, in technicolor, well, life, pretty much, as normal.

I don't think, if you look up in a dictionary the word "obtuse", you will find a picture of Todd, but after last night's Presidential Press Conference, I don't know, all bets may be off on that.

Jesus, what the hell was Todd thinking?

Was he trying to chide President Obama?

Or just get himself to stand out, as a primo fucking dunce?

Afterall, the last President, The Commander Guy, in a time of crises, exhorted us citizens to go shopping.

He must have thought Obama has dropped the ball, you know, that movie in his head, screaming at him, forcing those words down and out his mouth.

The former NBC/MSNBC Houdini-numbers guru, last evening, asked President Obama the following;

Okay. Chuck Todd.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Some have compared this financial crisis to a war, and in times of war, past presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. Some of your programs, whether for Main Street or Wall Street, have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this -- during this economic period of prosperity or supposed prosperity that you were talking about.

Why, given this new era of responsibility that you’re asking for, why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?
" ...why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?"

Oh, my Good Lord!

Chucky Todd, apparently, doesn't watch much television, including the channels he works and reports for.

Massive unemployment ... Massive foreclosures and evictions ... Massive layoffs ...

When there's no money, no job, no home, what is it, exactly, that Chucky T. expects Americans to sacrifice?

The Anonymous Liberal also noticed this boneheaded question;
Second, while I hate to pick on Chuck Todd, his question was really dumb. We're in the middle of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Millions of people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their health care, every day. And he asks why the President isn't asking the American people to sacrifice? Huh? What exactly did Todd have in mind? Should we be offering human sacrifices to appease the Gods?
So did Ryan Tate, over on The Gawker;
Chuck Todd, NBC News. For being weirdly sadistic toward struggling Americans, AGAIN.

He asked if "some form of sacrifice" should be made to the Wall Street gods, like maybe a homeless person? He kept asking about sacrifice among "the public" and "the American."

Yes, because economic collapse, sharply higher unemployment and looming depression are not enough. We should be starving in the street and setting ourselves on fire. "The American people are making a host of sacrifices in their individual lives" was how the president put it. Duh, Todd.

This is the same guy who asked, last time, if consumers were poised to spend way, way too much money, as they were being laid off and evicted from their homes. Strike two for NBC News' new man at the White House.

I mean, Jesus, you could have come up with a better question using a Magic 8-Ball.

And, think back, Chucky T's name was bandied about as a possible replacement for Little Timmy Russert's chair on MTP.

He would be more pathetic than Russert.

Keep this up Chucky, and you'll be finding yourself getting tosses from Lester Holt, on those back-road-filler stories for the weekend news, or worse, you'll be banished to Doc-Bloc land.

This Date ... On The Garlic

25 March 2008... On The Garlic

Classic Clinton (Or: Hillary, Unwittingly, Cuts An Army Commercial)

Rah, Rah, Rah ... Sis Boom Bah!

Weekend Smackdowns ... Cheney and Lieberman

25 March 2005... On The Garlic

Bonds Now Denies He Ever Played Major League Baseball

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama Spams The World

Boy, that had to turn some heads this morning.

And, you know, a few of them had to be thinking, was the Lincoln Group back in business, retained by the new administration?

Those, picking up Le Monde, or the Saudi Gazette, or about 30 other newspapers around the world, and seeing President Barack Obama on the Op-Ed page, "A time for global action."

In case their satellites went out, or they don't watch CNN International any longer (maybe in protest, after Zain Verjee couldn't stop from spouting "penis" during a broadcast), Obama wanted to be sure that they all knew our economy was in the tank, and Obama wanted to play "Tag", that they all have to pitch in as well

It was, kind of, an economic Knute Rockne thing, or Mickey Rooney/Andy Hardy "Hey gang, let's put on an economy!"

He didn't say so in the article, but I think he's going to hand out laminated, autographed copies at the G-20, just in case they missed it.

Maybe, they'll put a Gordon Brown-type package together, throw in some DVD's of his Tonight Show appearance, or his speeches.

Raw Story has a copy of it.

So does the Chicago Tribune.

No word yet, if Obama, just to piss off the Flying Monkeys of the Right Wing Freak Show, was chewing gum, or not, while writing the piece.

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Garlic Update of "Fixin' To Die Rag"; The Anti-Iran War Anthem?

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24 March 2005... On The Garlic

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McGwire Shifts, Softens Stand; Will Speak

Stadium Deal Falls; Jets New Home To Be In PA.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

We're All In The Dance

Gee, I guess I should be jumping for joy, ignoring the cumbersome day on the homefront experienced this day, because the Stock Market jumped 500-points.

And, all because Secretary of the Treasury Timothy "What's that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner's in the well?!!" Geithner announced his Public-Private Investment Scheme.

Emphasis added to "Public" and "Scheme".

About the only difference between the plan today, and the one Heistin' Hank Paulson was looking to run with last fall, is that Geithner has more hair on his head.

Tbogg, over on Firedoglake sums it up, pretty good;

Geithner isn't Michael Brown. He's Hurricane Katrina.
Reaction today (exempting the Stock Market, of course) was mixed, many still holding on to the point-of-view that this is garbage, and will do nothing, with nationalization of the diseased banks and companies inevitable, others in the middle, saying, ehh, we gotta do something, and maybe, just maybe (perhaps this is a hint, that we should be buying stock in the companies that manufacture "Lucky Rabbit Foot" charms) it will work, and a much smaller crowd openly heralding the Obama-Geithner plans as opening the skies, so the sun can shine, and the money rain down.

Evidence of that center crowd exemplified by quoting Mr. Wind, T. Boone Pickens;
My dad said a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan.
Paul Krugman was unwavering in his despair (and added to it with some 'rithmatic'), and gets defended by Digby, against the some in the Obama Administration, and the "noses-in-the-air" folks at MSNBC, who want to wish Krugman away to the cornfield.

Kevin Drum lays down that, perhaps, this is akin to a gauntlet we have to go through, on "The Road to Nationalization?"

Oh yes, there were a couple of reminders, one from Jane Hamsher, that Timothy "What's that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner's in the well?!!" Geithner is "Making Countrywide Executives Rich Again".

And, Dan Froomkin points out the "Basic questions Treasury still hasn’t answered"

Steve Clemons, on The Washington Note, points to "Simon Johnson's excellent blog, the Baseline Scenario, for "Finally, a Brilliant Idea on Toxic Assets"

And, finally, Henry Blodget, was about the only one out there, proverbially, doing the "lipstick-on-a-pig" thing, calling it like he sees it;
In short, because the plan is yet another massive, ineffective gift to banks and Wall Street. Taxpayers, of course, will take the hit.

Why does Tim Geithner keep repackaging the same trash-asset-removal plan that he has been trying to get approved since last fall?

In our opinion, because Tim Geithner formed his view of this crisis last fall, while sitting across the table from his constituents at the New York Fed: The CEOs of the big Wall Street firms. He views the crisis the same way Wall Street does--as a temporary liquidity problem--and his plans to fix it are designed with the best interests of Wall Street in mind.

If Geithner's plan to fix the banks would also fix the economy, this would be tolerable. But no smart economist we know of thinks that it will.
Something tells me that either President Obama, or Sectretary of the Treasury Timothy "What's that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner's in the well?!!" Geithner will turn towards each other in the coming weeks, summoning up the best spirit of Laurel and Hardy, and one will say to the other;
"Well, that's another fine mess you've gotten me into."

FEIST - La Meme Histoire - We're all in the dance

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23 March 2008... On The Garlic


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

In A Nutshell ...

They should have a big, confetti-falling, band-playing, ribbon-cutting ceremony at 30 Rockefeller Center in the coming days.

Perhaps to distance themselves from their own folly, their front-row cheering of the Wall Street Meltdown, General Electric will be changing the name of its' flagship business channel, giving it a dose of "truth in advertising".

No, they don't need to do esoteric, like Xe.

In fact, they can keep the same call letters, CNBC.

Just now, they translate to Can Not Be Credible.

For CNBC's Mark Haines to say to someone (and elected member of Congress, to boot), criticizing the Wall Street Meltdown, the naked, obscene raping of the financial system, to the point of complete ruin, that the steps to correct it are "Witch Huntery", says, in the nutshell, how in-the-tank Can Not Be Credible is, and how screwed the "media" really is (or, how screwed we really are).

Rep. Sherman (D-CA) vs. CNBC's Mark Haines

"What do people on Main Street know about running a financial system?"

Well, Mister Mark Haines, we don't have to look back to sepia-colored history, to turn that question around on you, and ask "What do people on Wall Street know about running a financial system?"

Hilzoy, over on Obsidian Wings, in fact, illustrates that point rather well;

A couple of years ago, it would have been hyperbole to suggest that we would all be better off if the senior executives at all our major financial firms were people picked entirely at random out of the phone book. Now, it's arguably true. People picked at random would, admittedly, be likely not to have been to business school. They might not know a lot about futures or derivatives or put options. But so what? At least they might have been more likely to know that they were clueless, and a few of them might have had the common sense to ask questions like: will housing prices really go up indefinitely?

In any case, what's the worst they could have done? Bankrupted their companies with ludicrously risky gambles that fell apart once markets went south? Destroyed trillions of dollars in value? Brought the world financial system to the brink of collapse? Left taxpayers across the globe on the hook for trillions of dollars? Bankrupted entire countries?

Oh, right.

And Now, We Come To The Sanity Clause

It may, or may not, be accidental, that news of the long-awaited Geithner-created, Obama Administration plans for the failed banks, stocked to the brim with those "toxic assets", was leaked out, just as March Madness was getting underway.

Perhaps they were looking for a "Cinderella Story" run with it, however, the early reviews coming in show it getting bounced, in the first round.

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman was brought to "Despair" over it, citing "The zombie ideas have won";
The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system — that what we’re facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank. As Tim Duy put it, there are no bad assets, only misunderstood assets. And if we get investors to understand that toxic waste is really, truly worth much more than anyone is willing to pay for it, all our problems will be solved.


But it’s immediately obvious, if you think about it, that these funds will have skewed incentives. In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn’t, that’s someone else’s problem.
A few hours later, Krugman, still despaired, added;
Why am I so vehement about this? Because I’m afraid that this will be the administration’s only shot — that if the first bank plan is an abject failure, it won’t have the political capital for a second. So it’s just horrifying that Obama — and yes, the buck stops there — has decided to base his financial plan on the fantasy that a bit of financial hocus-pocus will turn the clock back to 2006.
Economist James K. Galbraith;
If I'm right and the mortgages are largely trash, then the Geithner plan is a Rube Goldberg device for shifting inevitable losses from the banks to the Treasury, preserving the big banks and their incumbent management in all their dysfunctional glory. The cost will be continued vast over-capacity in banking, and a consequent weakening of the remaining, smaller, better- managed banks who didn't participate in the garbage-loan frenzy.
Publius, on Obsedian Wings, heralds that "This banking business may well be Obama’s Vietnam ...", while Frank Rich, today, slaps Obama upside the head, respectfully, but forcefully, pointing out that his "Katrina Moment" has arrived.

Digby, perhaps, got it down, on what Obama, Summers and Geithner must need, to either breath life into the plan, or themselves, with "Clap Louder".

Well, not only "Clap Louder", but yell, scream, jump up-and-down, louder, until it is a deafening roar, is, apparently what is needed.

After the last eight-years, "trust us" isn't going to cut it, something Glenn Greenwald got into yesterday;
This anti-anger consensus among our political elites is exactly wrong. The public rage we're finally seeing is long, long overdue, and appears to be the only force with both the ability and will to impose meaningful checks on continued kleptocratic pillaging and deep-seated corruption in virtually every branch of our establishment institutions. The worst possible thing that could happen now is for this collective rage to subside and for the public to return to its long-standing state of blissful ignorance over what the establishment is actually doing.


Atrios has been writing a version of the same key observation virtually every day for weeks -- that almost every plan to "solve" the financial crisis involves nothing more than transfers of enormous amounts of public money into the pockets of the same unchanged system and the same people who caused the collapse in the first place:

The issue is that [Geithner] and friends never distinguished between bailing out the system and bailing out the players. There was a way to do that, and they didn't do it.


The AIG scandal vividly reveals how corrupt and self-interested are the people who are still exerting primary control over this process, which is why our establishment class is so eager to demand that everyone look away. For months, Americans have been told that they must sacrifice and trust the Government to engage in extraordinary actions if they want to stave off another Great Depression, only to watch as hundreds of billions of dollars fly to the very people who are the prime culprits. As Jane Hamsher put it: "The 'populist rage' that the pundits find so unseemly is actually the appropriate response."

But Wait!

Matthew Yglesias is optimistic, and Brad DeLong weighs in on the positive side;
Q: This sounds very different from the headline of the Andrews, Dash, and Bowley article in the New York Times this morning: "Toxic Asset Plan Foresees Big Subsidies for Investors."

A: You are surprised, after the past decade, to see a New York Times story with a misleading headline?

Q: No.

A: The plan I have just described to you is the plan that was described to Andrews, Dash, and Bowley. They write of "coax[ing] investors to form partnerships with the government" and "taxpayers... would pay for the bulk of the purchases..."--that's the $30 billion from the private managers and the $150 billion from the TARP that makes up the equity tranche of the program. They write of "the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will set up special-purpose investment partnerships and lend about 85 percent of the money..."--that's the debt slice of the program. They write that "the government will provide the overwhelming bulk of the money — possibly more than 95 percent..."--that is true, but they don't say that the government gets 80% of the equity profits and what it is owed the FDIC on the debt tranche. That what Andrews, Dash, and Bowley say sounds different is a big problem: they did not explain the plan very well. Deborah Solomon in the Wall Street Journal does, I think, much better. David Cho in tomorrow morning's Washington Post is in the middle.
Krugman still isn't on-board;
And a final point: I’m with Atrios here. If getting the prices of toxic assets “right” isn’t enough to rescue the banks, that doesn’t mean that we’re doomed; it means that we actually have to, you know, rescue the banks, Swedish style, rather than rely on fancy financial engineering to make the problem go away.
"I'm with Atrios?"
Actually, it's worse than that, it's "If Timmeh is wrong about the ponies in Big Shitpile then it's Mad Max for all of us."

But, this all gets put in motion, tomorrow morning, before the opening bell of trading, when Tim "What's that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner's in the well?!!" Geithner meets with reporters and lays it all out.

Then, we wait and see.

Either the economy starts its' Herculean rise, and money is flooding the streets like a summer cloudburst, or, it's Harry Lime time;
"...and don't be so gloomy. Remember what the man said: under the Borgias there was warfare, bloodshed and murder and they had Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they have brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace. And what have they produced? The cuckoo clock! ..."

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