September 2008
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Month September 2008

Boston City Council Pleading Guilty to Open Meeting Charges

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 Post about Council Pleading Guilty to Open Meeting Charges…

Senate will vote on (and almost certainly pass) a revised bailout bill tomorrow

NYT reports: Senate leaders scheduled a Wednesday vote on a $700 billion financial bailout package after agreeing to add tax breaks and a higher limit for insured bank deposits in a bid to attract enough votes to reverse a shocking defeat in the House and send legislation to President Bush by the end of the week…. The Senate tax bill would cost more than $100 billion and extend and expand many individual and business tax breaks, including tax credits for the production and use of renewable energy sources, like solar energy and wind power. The bill would also extend the business tax credit for research and development, expand the child tax credit, protect millions of families from the alternative minimum tax and provide tax relief to victims of recent floods, tornadoes and severe storms. That seems to be all the detail that’s available.  And here’s an interesting nugget: After the plunge in stock market that followed the rejection of the package on Monday, lawmakers described the experience as sobering and said it could enhance prospects for a revised plan…. On the morning after the sell-off on Wall Street, Congressional offices reported a shift in angry calls from constituents, with some […]

The death of reagan – thacher economics

Smack-on stuff here from HuffPost. All the things that big government can’t be blamed for (Fema failures/Katrina, economy in the tank, Iraq war failures, loss of privacy, erosion of our constitutional rights, etc., etc. Does McCain Still Agree with Reagan That Government is the Problem? , By Arianna Huffington Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address, famously declared that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Twenty-seven years later, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and seven-plus years into the reign of Bush and Cheney, Reagan’s anti-government battle cry should be on trial. But, stunningly, it is not. This needs to change. The presidential candidates’ view of the role of government should be one of the central questions of the last 36 days of the campaign. And it should definitely be a question they are asked at their next debate: “Sen. McCain, given the part deregulation played in the current economic crisis and your support of a massive government bailout of the financial industry, are you now ready to break with Ronald Reagan’s assessment?” And, to be even handed: “Sen. Obama, in 1996, Bill Clinton cheerfully announced that ‘the […]

Breaking news: Boston Herald OpEditors endorse McCain


John Kerry and the Road to 60. Gives $1million to Dem Senate Candidates

OK, some Dems are not too fond of old John. Roughed him up a bit at the convention and in the primary. But he’s putting some cold hard cash into the US Senate battle.

From his email:

It’s time to push even harder to completely change Washington. We need to aim to get 60 votes in the Senate to push real change in our country.

So I have an announcement: I just gave a million dollars from my campaign to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to try to make this happen. I’m making this announcement to you here in the community first because I want you to join me in my commitment to get this change.

And the hits just keep on coming. Yet another Palin fiasco

I’ll let this disaster of an interview speak for itself:

This woman is not qualified to be Vice President of the United States, and John McCain has forever stained himself with this pick.

Have your pet blessed and help end Greyhound racing

Hello again BMG,

One of my favorite church folk once wrote “Plan as if there were no such thing as prayer. Pray as if there were no such thing as planning.” This weekend, we’ve got the opportunity to pray and plan for an end to greyhound racing in Massachusetts. You are invited to bring your beloved pet to be blessed with greyhounds and other creatures great and small on Sunday October 5, at 10 am at St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s is located at 138 Tremont Street, across from the Park Street T station (between Winter and Temple Streets).

Disclaimer: I work for the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

Continue on for more on why we’re praying and planning to put an end to this cruel practice…

Stiglitz Talks Sense

In an essay in the Guardian Columbia University economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz talks sense: The holes in financial institutions’ balance sheets should be filled in a transparent way. The Scandinavian countries showed the way two decades ago. Warren Buffet showed another way, in providing equity to Goldman Sachs. By issuing preferred shares with warrants (options), one reduces the public’s downside risk and ensures that they participate in some of the upside potential. This approach is not only proven, but it also provides both the incentives and wherewithal needed for lending to resume. It avoids the hopeless task of trying to value millions of complex mortgages and the even more complex financial products in which they are embedded, and it deals with the “lemons” problem – the government gets stuck with the worst or most overpriced assets. Finally, it can be done far more quickly. At the same time, several steps can be taken to reduce foreclosures. First, housing can be made more affordable for poor and middle-income Americans by converting the mortgage deduction into a cashable tax credit. The government effectively pays 50% of the mortgage interest and real estate taxes for upper-income Americans, yet does nothing […]

Can someone explain why this 20% profit skimming is in the bailout bill?

TRANSFER OF A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS. DEPOSITS. Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2). USE OF DEPOSITS. Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1) 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568); and 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569). REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY. All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.  

Read a Banned Book — CORRECTED

… or at least this illustrated history of book banning in honor of Banned Books Week, which is now, Sept. 27 – Oct. 4. Here, too, is Ban this Booklist, a top-50 from the ACLU of books that touch on civil liberties themes — and which have been banned by those who… just. don’t. get. irony.