March 18, 2009
"We've created this mess. Everyone's responsible for allowing executives to receive these bonuses," said George Ayoub of Toronto, Canada, an American who was visiting Los Angeles. "Probably every company needs to be nationalized, and the government will own the corporations instead of the corporations owning the government."
Guard Wife has a good post explaining contract law. And Glenn Beck got in the game and showed just how inconsequential this $165M is in the grand scheme of things.
And this is the problem with government meddling in business:
Experts in corporate law said the Obama administration has an important advantage in the controversy. In return for the bailout, the government now owns 80 percent of the company. "They're the big dog in the room now and can put some leverage on AIG to straighten this out," said attorney Jim Ervin, a partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff Llp in Ohio.
Now that Obama owns you, he can force you to break contracts, which, according to my understanding of Boortz today, means an even bigger payout:
Here's something I'm guessing you don't know. The Financial Services Division of AIG is headquartered in Wilton, Conn. In Connecticut they have a little gem called the "Wage Act." This law says that if an employee has to sue for wages payable pursuant to a contract they recover twice the amount that is contractually owed. That would have meant $330 million instead of $165 million. Add some attorney's fees on top of that. So ... you're running AIG. What would YOU do?
So tell me how getting worked up over this makes any sense!
And then she paid me an outrageous sum of money for the little sweater, which was super nice. I want her to hire me to knit for her whole family; she pays way better than my current job.
Check out her blog, whydonjcha. She's feisty.
March 17, 2009
March 15, 2009
March 14, 2009
When I saw this trailer two weeks ago, I groaned. I feared another Hollywood movie that made soldiers look like dupes and sadists. But when I saw that Soldiers' Angels was backing the movie, I told my husband that it had the seal of approval and that we ought to go see it.
We attended the premiere tonight with director Jake Rademacher, his brothers, and Gary Sinise. It was such a good movie...and I'm not just saying that because I want a non-anti-war movie to do well. It was laugh-out-loud funny in parts, sad in other parts, and above all it was real. Plus it avoided all the typical maudlin crap that most war movies have: the inner angst, the "we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves" voice-overs, or the sniveling soldiers who make me look like an emotional Rambo.
I can't recommend the movie enough.
March 13, 2009
(both links via CG)
Chuck Z found the first example of complete insensitivity.
I hope this is not a taste of boorishness to come.
March 12, 2009
I really needed that tonight.
I don't quite know how to strike the right balance on my blog. If I write too casually about my fertility woes, I get called flippant. If I write in too much depth about my innermost feelings, I get told I am self-centered. So I swing back and forth, trying to figure out just how much to let you know without sounding whiny or weak so I don't come off robotic either.
Please don't take the fact that I still write about Obama and Thin Mints to mean that I am not constantly fretting about my baby and planning for the worst: becoming The Lady With Three Miscarriages And Zero Living Children.
The flowers were a wonderful touch today, husband.
[W]hen he was at the HLR you did get a very distinct sense that he was the kind of guy who much more interested in being the president of the Review, than he was in doing anything as president of the Review.
A lot of the time he quote/unquote "worked from home", which was sort of a shorthand - and people would say it sort of wryly - shorthand for not really doing much. He just wasn't around. Most of the day to day work was carried out by the managing editor of the Review, my predecessor, a great guy called Tom Pirelli whose actually going to be one of the assistant attorney generals now.
He's the one who did most of the day to day work. Barack Obama was nowhere to be seen. Occasionally he would drop in he would talk to people, and then he'd leave again as though his very arrival had been a benediction in and of itself, but not very much got done.
We're boned. We are so boned.
March 11, 2009
Oh, and I totally called it: I've already had two people tell me that yesterday's news was good. One was even excited about it. Wow.
The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment."
That arrogant, cowboy, unilateralist administration! Don't they care about our allies? Don't they care about diplomacy?
Oh wait, it wasn't Bush?
Bah, forget it then.
BECKY: David Paterson, the governor of New York, wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend, and he said, "The mortgage plan that the president has proposed is the right one." Do you agree with that?
BUFFETT: Well, I don't even know all the details, but I would say that the administration ought to be willing to listen to very prompt suggestions on ways to make it a little bit better.
BECKY: I feel like I have heard that from the president, that we will stand behind the banking system and it will be here. What can he say more specifically than that?
BUFFETT: I'm not sure he said it quite that way...
This exchange was sure interesting:
BECKY: We have people asking questions about things that the administration has already put out. In fact, Bob wrote in from Baltimore, Bob Knott, who says, "On a scale from one to 10, how would you assess the value to the US economy of President Obama's recently enacted stimulus plan?"
BUFFETT: Oh, well, the stimulus plan's going to take a long time to kick in. I mean, there'll be certain things kick in fast. But the stimulus plan is part of the recovery, but it's not the most--it's important to put it in, but there's other things that need to be done now to restore confidence. You're not going to--you're just not going to see that much happen.
Fantastic. Good thing we rammed that monstrosity through.
Slate has some more shocking quotes from Buffett.
Anyway, I'm just curious. I read the whole thing, and it seems like Buffett truly likes and supports Obama -- but if he calls him "articulate" one more time, I'm gonna lose it -- so he hesitates to flat-out call him on the carpet and tell him that he's making some bad choices. But he hints at it plenty.
March 10, 2009
I was talking to a friend earlier and I said that this is, oddly enough, the phase I don't mind so much. Because it's the phase I cannot control. There is nothing I can do to make a dead baby alive or an alive baby dead, so I just wait it out and see. I find this phase more comforting than the actual getting pregnant process, where I over-think everything and beat myself up wondering what else I could've done to maximize my chances that month.
Don't get me wrong: this Schroedinger phase is absurd. But it's the closest thing I have had to a "vacation" from thinking about fertility for the past 2+ years. Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.
Then it was our turn, in which we preceded to find no heartbeat. Sigh. They sent me to redo my labwork. An hour later, the doctor comes in and tells us it's either 1) the baby is dead or 2) it's possibly multiples, in which case we might not see heartbeats yet. Only the labwork will reveal the answer, but unfortunately it's not completed yet, so go on home and we'll give you a call.
So the husband went back to work and I went grocery shopping, because disappointment is such a normal part of our life that it makes no sense not to act like business as usual. And I made plans to eat my weight in fried mushrooms tonight and then get to work on losing ten pounds tomorrow. Oh, and to unload all my baby stuff on craigslist.
Five hours later, the nurse finally calls with the lab results: my hormone levels haven't dropped any, so all we can do is check again at the end of next week and see what we see then.
Dragging the agony out...that sounds like fun.
This is exactly the crappy situation I worried about the last time, the something in between alive and dead scenario.
And if anybody dares tell me that this is good news and that I should be happy that at least the baby isn't definitively dead -- and I swear I know somebody in my real life who will so do this -- I will freak out.
So, um, that's my WTF news.
March 07, 2009
He told me was that SERE was so much worse than he ever imagined. I said that I had been crying and worrying about him all week. His response: "You definitely should have been."
The thing about SERE is that everyone is supposed to go in fresh. My husband can't tell me a lot what he went through without revealing the confidential parts of the course, but suffice it to say that the few things that he was allowed to tell me me were plain awful. And I know there are more things that he can't explain in mere words even if he could, things I will never be able to understand.
He said he came away from the training with so much respect for people like John McCain. My husband spent a few days as a simulated prisoner, and he said it was enough to make you wish you were dead. He said he cannot imagine how POWs survived for years on end in a real prison, with real guards and real solitary confinement and real torture.
One facet of the desperation they felt can be summed up by a story he told. During the evasion part, my husband was lucky enough to happen upon a snake. He killed it and then carried the dead snake with him until the next day when they could safely make a fire and eat it. But the saddest part was when he said that he was so miserable from the weather that he didn't even notice how starving he was. And he was starving enough that he lost more than 20 pounds in one week.
But he's been in a good mood since the moment I saw him grinning at me. I suppose liberation from such an ordeal must make you happy in so many ways.
Me, I had trouble falling asleep last night and woke up very early this morning, listening to him breathe -- and hack and cough, since his weakened condition has made him sicker than I've ever seen him -- and just being so thankful that he's home, and thankful that the whole thing was simulated.
All I could think about all week was how wives of real POWs could bear it. I couldn't bear one week of agony, knowing that somewhere out there my husband was being mistreated...by paid professionals who only mean to teach the soldiers valuable lessons. I don't know how ladies in the past woke up every morning knowing that their husbands were truly being tortured.
And his hands. His poor hands, destroyed from clawing his way through thorn bushes under a new moon in the pouring rain to evade the enemy. Every time I see them, it's a reminder of all he went through.
But he survived. He returned with honor. And I'm very proud of him.
March 06, 2009
And I wouldn't read Ulysses or Dreams From My Father if you paid me. I took a course in college where the professor offered that if any one of us could 1) read and 2) understand Ulysses, we'd get an automatic A in the class. No takers.
Incidentally, I find it hilarious that people are lying about having read Obama's book.
March 05, 2009
I would rather have an intelligent, open discussion with you where you lay out your philosophy and policies and I lay out mine -- and we can question each other, in a real debate. Any time here at the EIB Network studios. If you're too busy partying or flying around giving speeches and so forth, then send Vice President Biden. I'm sure he would be very capable of articulating your vision for America -- and if he won't work, send Geithner, and we can talk about the tax code. And if that won't work, go get Bob Rubin. I don't care. Send whoever you want if you can't make it. You don't need to be leaking stories to Politico like this thing that's published today. You don't need to have your allies writing op-eds and all the rest. If you can win at this, then come here and beat me at my own game, and get rid of me once and for all, and show all the people of America that I am wrong.
Rush would crush Obama to smithereens.
In other challenge news, Greg Mankiw tells Paul Krugman to put his money where his mouth is.
How big of a dork does it make me to say that I would pay real money to see these two smackdowns go down?
It's like a blogger nerd's SuperBowl.
In other countries, beginning with the US and Europe, a new economic era has begun. Laissez-faire, anti-tax, anti-government capitalism is understood to have failed (it sure as hell didn't prevent this disaster, did it?), and the response has been a turn to the Left. In other countries, it's understood that government has to step in with more liberal, social democratic, Keynesian, New Deal-style policies or the economy is going to sink through the floor.
Not here, though. Here people are scared of losing their jobs, afraid to spend a nickel, their hearts go out to the factory workers who've gotten laid off, they read about how charities that keep hundreds of thousands of poor people afloat are about to go bankrupt, and what is their idea of change, of an Israeli New Deal? Bibi Netanyahu. The world's last reigning (or soon-to-be-reigning) ideological Thatcherite.
The article is not meant to be flattering; the author apparently wants an Obama. But I must say that when I read that intro to the article, I felt jealous of Israel. They get Benjamin Netanyahu and they're complaining about it.
Dude, I will trade you leaders any day of the week.
Our ship has hit a hurricane, and this is our crew, folks. To the poor and the soon-to-be poor: Don't expect a whole lot from the incoming government. The New Deal under Prime Minister Netanyahu looks like it's going to be a copy of the Old Deal under Finance Minister Netanyahu: Every man for himself.
Yes yes yes! Oh wait, that's meant to be a bad thing?
The whole article is about how Netanyahu didn't "solve the ecominy" last time he was in office; it just righted itself eventually. That's meant to be an insult, that Netanyahu didn't do anything. But in my estimation, presidents or prime ministers ought to stay as far away from touching the economy as possible. The free market will eventually right itself, but not if you tinker with it too much.
Our new president is a tinkerer of epic proportions. I'll take their guy over ours whenever they want to trade.
Not to mention that he ain't so bad on the eyes...
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