Given the severity of the problems facing the nation, officials on Capitol Hill and in the Obama team say Democrats have put their schedule on fast-forward rather than allowing the usual lull between the start of the new Congress, this time on Jan. 6, and President-electBarack Obama’s swearing-in two weeks later.
Lawmakers and staff members are already laying the groundwork for a running start, and Congress is scheduled to remain in session once its expanded Democratic majorities are sworn in.
“There is the sense that there is no time to have a sort of laid-back transition,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader. “It is being driven by crisis. Clearly, when you are confronted with the challenges we are confronted with, the public, the banking community needs to see that action is being taken.”
The ambitious Democratic plan and the growing rapport between the new administration and Congress could both be bolstered by the high-level Congressional expertise being absorbed into the executive branch....(Click for remainder).
In Michael Wolff’s forthcoming biography of Rupert Murdoch, “The Man Who Owns The News,” the author writes that the media mogul has seemed to turn away lately from his cable news network, and isn’t fond its top-rated personality, Bill O’Reilly.
“It is not just Murdoch (and everybody else at News Corp.’s highest levels) who absolutely despises Bill O’Reilly, the bullying, mean-spirited, and hugely successful evening commentator,” Wolff wrote, “but [Fox News chief executive] Roger Ailes himself who loathes him. Success, however, has cemented everyone to each other."“The embarrassment can no longer be missed,” Wolff wrote, in another section of the book. “He mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it. He barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O’Reilly. And while it is not that he would give Fox up—because the money is the money; success trumps all—in the larger sense of who he is, he seems to want to hedge his bets.”
- I think the church has no right to assume the inner thinkings of its members and take such an open stand of any political issue.
- The Church's involvement in the effort to rescind a basic Constitutional right from California citizens is shameful and misguided.
- The position the church took on this particular issue went against everything I learned from the church. Not only was the church's position discriminatory, but it was also hateful.
- The leadership fights for bigotry and hate. The God I grew up with was perfect in His Love and Justice. Shame on the men who act so disgracefully in His name.
Friday, November 28, 2008
In a preview of his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the nation on the occasion of Thanksgiving, nearly one hundred and fifty years after President Lincoln called for the last Thursday in November to be set aside to acknowledge our blessings. For more information, visit http://change.gov.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
You might be hearing from the right wing about how breaking the unions and letting wages fall is the solution to our problems. We've heard this before. Let me tell you where.
In the late 1920's and early 1930's the global economy as it then was constituted, suffered a series of moments of crisis. In truth it had never gotten back to balance since the "Great War." The responses to these crisis points made the situation. Orthodoxy of the age brought disaster, and that orthodoxy was returning to an international gold standard that was really only a recent innovation. As Bordo and Eichengreen put it: "a system which relied on inelastically supplied precious metal and elastically supplied foreign exchange to meet the the world economy's demand for reserves was intrinsically fragile, prone to confidence problems, and a transmission belt for policy mistakes."
It's a nice way of saying that the Gold Standard was unsafe at any speed.
When the crisis arrived, there were three responses. One was to try and stick it out with the old system. This lead to falling wages and high unemployment under persistent deflation. The other two responses involved "casting off the fetters of gold." However, once this was done there was still a choice: keep wages high and the industrial system functioning, or let wages fall all the way to the floor, and employ people by the state.
In the US, under the New Deal, dealing with deflation was deemed to be important, and keeping wages high enough so that people could buy the products of industry was part of FDR's policy. It meant higher unemployment, but a growing sphere of a new economy, one that would eventually cover the nation with the excuse of World War II to bring everyone into the new world of internal combustion, telephones, electricity and broadcast. The argument was that it was easier to provide a safety net for people who had fallen out of the old economy, and to give them work and relief, than to raise wages that had fallen.
There was another choice, as Peter Temin, MIT economist, pointed out that the Nazi's "socialized human beings," and they "destroyed the unions within a few months of taking power," and "also introduced compulsory labor service," as well as using tax incentives and propaganda to convince women to leave the labor force." The result was a recovery to full employment "At the cost of their personal liberty and higher wages," You can read all this on page 115 of his book on lessons from the Great Depression. On page 9 you can see him rip Lionel Robbins for prescribing wage deflation as a "fundamental misconception."...(Click for remainder)
By Bob Fertik
Monday, November 24, 2008
Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Timothy Geithner currently serves as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he has played a key role in formulating the nation’s monetary policy. He joined the Department of the Treasury in 1988 and has served three presidents. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Following that post he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund until 2003. Geithner is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council
Lawrence Summers is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. Summers served as 71st Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006. Before being appointed Secretary, Summers served as Deputy and Under Secretary of the Treasury and as the World Bank’s top economist. Summers has taught economics at Harvard and MIT, and is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under 40 judged to have made the most significant contribution to economics. Summers played a key advisory role during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Christina D. Romer, Director of the Council of Economic Advisors
Christina Romer is the Class of 1957 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught and researched since 1988. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, Romer was an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Romer is co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been a visiting scholar at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Melody C. Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Melody Barnes is co-director of the Agency Review Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and served as the Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to Obama for America. Barnes previously served as Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress and as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee from December 1995 until March 2003.
Heather A. Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Heather Higginbottom served as Policy Director for Obama for America, overseeing all aspects of policy development. From 1999 to 2007, Higginbottom served as Senator John Kerry’s Legislative Director. She also served as the Deputy National Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign for the primary and general elections. After the 2004 election, Higginbottom founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank. She started her career as an advocate at the national non-profit organization Communities in Schools.
The Homosexuals are coming in - Sorry - to your town, are you ready?
Despite the hopes of many human-rights advocates, the new Obama Justice Department is not likely to launch major new criminal probes of harsh interrogations and other alleged abuses by the Bush administration. But one idea that has currency among some top Obama advisers is setting up a 9/11-style commission that would investigate counterterrorism policies and make public as many details as possible.….”If there was any effort to have war-crimes prosecutions of the Bush administration, you’d instantly destroy whatever hopes you have of bipartisanship,” said Robert Litt, a former Justice criminal division chief during the Clinton administration. A new commission, on the other hand, could emulate the bipartisan tone set by Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton in investigating the 9/11 attacks.
San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper to explain the city's court challenge to Prop 8.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"For almost 400 years, Christmas was banned in Scotland. At the height of the Reformation, in 1583, when anything smacking of Catholicism and idolatrous excess was thrown out with contempt, Christmas and all its trappings was wiped off the official calendar......Reinforced by the hard arm of the law, this was a ban that had bite...This was an age when religious belief could mean the difference between life and a very nasty death....Scottish Presbyterians, when called on for support by the Puritans of the English Parliament in 1644, did so on the understanding that their allies would in exchange impose the ban on Christmas. For over a decade traditional English Christmas festivities were prohibited.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his views on marriage equality and California Proposition 8. This event took place on October 29, 2008, as part of the Policy Talks@Google series.
The youngest San Francisco mayor in over a hundred years, Newsom was elected in 2003. In 2004, the Mayor captured nationwide interest when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
For the first time, former President Jimmy Carter has been denied entry into a country. Zimbabwe is refusing to give visas to Carter, former U.N. Secretary-general Kofi Annan and rights advocate Graca Machel.
President-elect Barack Obama announces he has directed his economic team to assemble an Economic Recovery Plan that will save or create 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011. For more information, visit http://change.gov.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
By Ed Stein