Friday, January 23, 2009

Early Morning Stimulus...Sasha and Malia Dolls!

Breaking news! The company that produces beanie babies have just put out two new dolls, Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia, but they are not supposed to look like them. Yeah, right.

Michelle Obama was not amused: "We believe it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes," a spokeswoman for the first lady told Crain's

A Ty spokeswoman had told Crain's the dolls were created with the Obama daughters in mind, but the spokeswoman Thursday said the dolls "were not designed to look like any living person."

"Somehow there was a misunderstanding," the spokeswoman said.

Boy, it seems like you now have to get up mighty early in the morning if you want to keep current with events that are shaping the news. Most newspapers are written the night before, with many international items from the wire services being several days old before settling down in a daily template. Why, Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, has given three news conferences already, each one increasingly more inventive and paranoid.

Early this morning Republican leaders met with President Obama and got to express their concerns with the upcoming economic stimulus bill, then both parties had short press conferences. The emphasis Republicans wanted to make was not to throw money away on short term goals, no pork projects, and more help for small businesses. Unfortunately, they keep harping on tax credits, which won't really do much to help. If I have a store and nobody is coming in to buy my stuff, and I can't pay any bills, having a lower tax rate won't keep me afloat. If I am manufacturing goods, but nobody is ordering them because nobody is buying them at the stores, a lower tax credit won't pay my employees or buy the raw materials I need. So, even though 850 billion dollars will be allocated, many family run businesses will still go bankrupt and our manufacturing base will still decline.

Even Starbucks has closed 600 stores and the computer industry is laying thousands off. Microsoft announced that it will lay off 5,000 people, with Intel announcing it will lay off 5-6,000, and Advanced Micro Devices eliminating 1,100 jobs. However, Apple did sell 22.7 million ipods...

CNN reports that in today's morning news conference: "President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending while receiving taxpayer dollars from the $700 billion federal bailout package.

During a White House meeting with the joint congressional leadership, the president said he had seen reports "over the last couple of days about companies (receiving) taxpayer assistance (and) then going out and renovating bathrooms or offices or in other ways not managing those dollars appropriately."

Moving forward, the president said, it would be necessary to pass reforms ensuring the kind of "oversight, transparency, accountability that's going to be required in order for the American people to confidence in what we're doing."
This, of course, was in response to news items like the CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain, had given 3-4 billion dollars in bonuses while it was being bought out by Bank of America, and that he had spent millions on his office, including $86,000 for an area rug. I think he took his status as Overlord too seriously, and B of A fired him.

Thain was a former head of the New York Stock Exchange, and former chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs. I don't see how these firms can stay in business. Would you invest in them knowing your fees were buying a new $100,000 commode for the boss? No way to tell if you are investing in another Ponzi scheme or not, or if your stocks are worth the paper they are printed on, especially if the major players are now hiding their dollars under the mattress...

Today's jokes come courtesy of Jay Leno. The others just weren't that funny last night.

"And during his inaugural address yesterday, President Barack Obama said, 'Millions of Americans have lost their homes and some of us who still have homes have their mother-in-laws moving in with them.'" --Jay Leno

"And there was a stumbling during the reading of the oath, when the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, forgot the words for a second and then he got them in the wrong order. See, how typical is that? Barack, just a second before he takes over, the Republicans get one last screw up in there." --Jay Leno

"No, apparently the chief justice stumbled on the word faithfully. But to be fair, a lot of people in Washington have trouble with any version of the word faithfully." --Jay Leno

"The total cost of the inauguration was $170 million. They say this is the most of the expensive celebration since that last AIG retreat on our bailout money." --Jay Leno

"And yesterday had the largest gathering of celebrities for any inauguration ever. In fact, there were so many celebrities and politicians together, it broke the old record set by the Betty Ford Clinic." --Jay Leno

"Oh actually, you know who gave the shortest inauguration speech in history? George Washington, whose speech was just a couple minutes long, which makes sense because, remember, George Washington couldn't tell a lie, right?" --Jay Leno

"And the show 'Dancing With the Stars' trying to get Cindy McCain on the program. How about that? Not to be outdone, John McCain's been offered a part in the show 'Bones.'" --Jay Leno

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