Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Not the Size of the Package...

Roger Cohen
Dana Millbank
George Will

Remember when President Obama announced that all CEO's receiving funds would have a salary cap? I remember it as if it were last week, and I pumped my fist in the air and yelled "all right!" Well, that is no longer going to happen, it's being compromised out of the stimulus package so a vote can be held tomorrow. Be sure to write to your legislators and thank them for doing such a good job. The reasons given as reported by the Washington Post: "Several compensation analysts said yesterday that many of the measures that were in the Senate bill would have faced legal hurdles because they applied retroactively to banks that received government funds under rules agreed to last fall when Congress passed the Troubled Assets Relief Program's capital repurchase plan.

"It was not part of the original agreement," said Laura Thatcher, head of the executive compensation practice at Alston & Bird. "If they're going to retroactively change playing rules, it would seem to me that, in fairness, they would have to give the institutions an opportunity to back out of the deal altogether."
 There are several more similar bills in Congress to limit pay caps, but they are separate from the stimulus package.

Will the stimulus package actually stimulate the economy? According to the Christian Science Monitor: " Some public opinion seers suggest it might help, perhaps showing that the new president and Congress can accomplish something. Other poll watchers, though, caution that the public has low expectations, with a large number of people feeling the package won’t have much effect on them.

The most recent Gallup numbers certainly show the public has modest expectations. Only 12 percent think it will make the economy “a lot better,” and 32 percent believe it will make it “a little better.” However, 41 percent think it will have no effect and 12 percent think it will be worse."
 If I lived in a nice house that cost more than half a million, still had that job that paid over $100K or my own company, and enjoyed driving my foreign made luxury car, then I'd be happy with the tax cuts because I'd benefit greatly. But if I were a recently laid off worker with my ex-employer challenging my unemployment benefits to save his money, having to get food stamps to feed five people while living in a home with a sub-prime mortgage and nothing left in my bank account, then I'm pretty much screwed unless I can be first in line for a newly created stimulus job.

You know how dangerous car accidents are on the freeways, how quickly they can become multiple car pileups? Seems the same problems can occur in space. Yesterday an out of control Russian communications satellite skipped over the median and hit a US satellite 500 miles above Siberia. Because the area for orbits of communication satellites are pretty crowded, it's possible that more satellites could crash into them. I'd like to see Verizon explain this on my next bill...

The fun never ends in the Heartland, specifically the state of Illinois. Lashing out at his fellow legislators ex-governor Rod Blagojevich threatened to spill the beans on his esteemed colleagues, calling them adulterers and drunkards and willing to name them at trial. I've always said that anyone running for political office should first take a proficiency exam and then be tested for illegal substances on a regular basis...

Late night jokes:

"Last night, Barack Obama held his first press conference as President of the United States, and it was fascinating because his press conferences are very different than the George Bush press conferences in many ways. There were verbs. There were syllables. There were complete sentences." --Jay Leno

"I miss the President Bush news conference. Like when they asked him a question, he'd go, 'Uh, can I have a hint?'" --Jay Leno

"And in Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman, who is in a legal fight with Al Franken over who won the election for Senate, said, 'God wants me to serve.' But here is my question. How bad a candidate are you if you can't win an election when you have the creator of the universe on your side?" --Jay Leno

"Meg Whitman, the former C.E.O. of eBay, has filed to run for governor of California. Well, that makes sense. I mean, the state's broke. If we're going to start selling stuff, who better to be governor than the head of eBay?" --Jay Leno

"Down in Louisiana, a porn star named Stormy Daniels announced that before she commits to running for U.S. Senate, she will go on a statewide listening tour. Daniels added, and I'm quoting here, that she may 'be a slut and a whore, but' she is 'not a criminal.' But this is why she will never win. See, in the Senate, you have to be all three." --Jay Leno

"Now it's time for another installment of 'They took away Bush, but, by God, they gave us Joe Biden.' As you know, Barack Obama out there selling this stimulus package. He believes in it. He can change America. Here's Joe Biden talking: (on screen: Biden: 'You know, if we do everything right, we do it with absolute certainty, we stand up there and we make really tough decisions, there's still a 30 percent chance we're gonna get it wrong']. You think Obama's sitting up there going, 'Shut up! Shut up!'?" --Jay Leno

"The Senate has passed an $838 billion stimulus bill. That is just under $3,000 for each person in America. And here's how it's going to work. On March 1st, every American will receive a roll of 30 $100 Obama stimulus coins. And you can either trade the coins with your friends or you can use them in special machines to buy stimulus nutrition bars." --Jimmy Kimmel

"All the Democrats in the Senate and three Republicans voted for the stimulus bill. President Barack Obama says it's going to take a lot of time before Republicans warm up to his many appeals for bipartisanship. The biggest hurdle, I guess, is how do you convince Republicans that being bipartisan doesn't mean you have to have sex with other dudes." --Jimmy Kimmel

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