Some of the Wall Street firms who got so-called "bailouts" from the taxpayers are making money again. But this is not a scandal, it's good news. Because the United States Treasury is raking in some of these profits, as a result of the money invested earlier under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (or "TARP"). This should not come as a stunning surprise, but it indeed may to some people -- because of the massive failure to politically frame the issue correctly when the money was originally invested. This failure, it should be noted, is shared by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Archive of Articles for August, 2009
Republicans, masters of chutzpah that they are, have launched a pre-emptive strike against "politicizing" Senator Edward Kennedy's funeral with unseemly Democratic ideals. This should be so ridiculous as to endanger Americans' health from side-splitting laughter, but (Democrats being Democrats) it might just work.
Today, a boy in England set the record for being the youngest person to sail around the world solo. This record had been set last month by an American boy who was 17 years old when he achieved this feat. The English lad was 16 when he started, and turned 17 on the voyage. But both of these may soon be considered rather elderly, because a 13-year-old girl from the Netherlands may be setting out on her own record-setting sail. But at what point do we have to ask: "What is 'too young' to attempt these kind of records?"
And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
In the calendar of politics, throughout the year, the label "Take Out The Trash Day" is attached by the media to Fridays. Late Friday afternoon (or even evening, after the national television news deadline), the White House releases news that they'd really rather just ignore -- and would be very happy if everyone else ignored as well. There's a good reason for this timing: Friday evening (and Saturday as well) is the time of week when the least amount of the public is paying attention to the news. Meaning that embarrassing or awkward stories can be released with the fewest possible ripples in the body politic's attention. But this concept sometimes broadens to encompass an entire week. With Congress, the president, and what the White House hopes is a maximum amount of the public all on vacation this week, it seems to be the time to toss a few news stories over the wall, in the hopes that they'll get less attention than normal.
Would the Democratic Party, and Senate Democrats in particular, be better off if current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid loses his re-election bid next year? This is a provocative question, but it is now one that needs consideration, since Reid's poll numbers in his own state remain so dismal. The possibility of Reid becoming only the second Majority Leader since the 1950s to lose his own seat (Daschle was the other one) is looking more and more like the safe bet (to put it in gambling-friendly Nevada terms, as it were). Which leads to the question of what impact this will have on the Senate, what impact on the Democratic Party, and what impact on the country at large.
President Obama stunned the political world today by announcing he will switch political parties, and soon become a Republican. "It seems the only way we're going to get bipartisanship in this town is if I lead the way," he said, in brief remarks before leaving for vacation. "The Republicans have refused to work with me because I'm a Democrat, and Republicans' biggest strength has always been the ability to fall into line with whatever their leaders tell them, unlike other certain unnamed political parties in America..." (the president appeared to cough several times at this point, although one of his coughs sounded suspiciously like the word "Democrats," if truth be told...). The president, clear-throated now, continued, "So I will now be the leader of the Republican Party, and they will fall in line with what I tell them to we're going to do. The Democrats who are interested in bipartisanship can join us to pass Medicare-for-all, instead of the Rube Goldberg machine which they have been attempting to construct."
This is a tough subject to write about, because Edward "Teddy" Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, has served Massachusetts in the United States Senate longer than I've been alive -- almost a half-century. Served, it hardly needs adding, with distinction. His nickname on Capitol Hill these days is "The Lion of the Senate," which just shows the respect and admiration many other politicians feel for the man.
There is certainly no shortage of irony in the debate raging across the country on healthcare reform. For me, though, the choicest bit of irony has to be the new rallying cry of those who want to shoot down any reform efforts -- that it would provide insurance for illegal immigrants. This irony is lost on those who don't know their history, though. Because fear of immigrants is what started the concept of "public health" in America. But back then, it was fear of sick immigrants infecting everyone else which drove the debate. Hence the irony.
I have a few questions about healthcare reform, even if I don't have solid answers. Solid answers, when looking at the economics of the insurance industry, quickly lead you to the equation "insurance equals discrimination." Insurance, by its actuarial nature, has to discriminate, or else it couldn't survive. But that is really a topic for another day. My questions today are about the costs of healthcare discrimination, and what reform will do to alter this equation.