Friday, February 20, 2009

Continued Discussion Of The Economic Rescue Plans, Obama Criticized As Not Hopey Enough, Foreclosure Court, And The Recession Hurts The Sexin

Hi everyone. We kick things off with the BREAKING NEWS tonight that the Silver Falls Bank of Oregon is going down. Another one bites the dust. That's the 14th bank failure of the year, bringing whispers of the other "N" word: nationalization. Actually, at this point it's more than whispers--some prominent politicians are flat out saying we might have to nationalize some of the banks. What's that noise you hear? I believe that's the conservatives of the country collectively screaming, "ohmigod, socialism!" This should be fun.

In an Ed Henry piece, we learn that President Obama gave a little lecture to the nation's mayors today regarding accountability for that stimulus money they're taking home. The general message? "You are on notice!" And he's wearing that I-ain't-playin' face. You know, the one that makes you think that even though he's not saying it out loud, in his head, he's totally adding a word after "notice." The mayors, however, aren't exactly trembling in their boots because they've been getting called out right and left by their constituents. They just want the cash--even the ones that opposed the stimulus. Oh, and they know what you're thinking.

No, it's not hypocrisy to oppose a bill and then put your hand out for its benefits, so shut up about it. In fact, apparently it's even a-okay to oppose the bill and then travel around your state touting the awesome stuff you put in the bill, which is exactly what my senator, Kit Bond, has been doing. Lovely. Fear not, people. There might be some evidence of integrity out there. Republican governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mark Sanford of South Carolina have stated they will not use some of the stimulus for their states, though one wonders what the definition of "some" is. After Ed's piece, Anderson Cooper notes this week has been brutal and asks what's going to happen next week. Zombie attack. Seriously. We've been warned!

Panel time! Tonight's pontificators include Joe Johns, David Gergen, and personal finance expert Clark Howard of HLN. I had planned to take to the Google in order to bring you the exact qualifications of this Clark guy, but, well, it's Friday and I didn't. Instead, I shall pose a question to you: doesn't he kinda look like the lovechild of Rick Moranis and Richard Quest? Sorta, if you squint? Anyway, Anderson asks him about the possibility of nationalizing the banks and he says, "I think it's absolutely the right thing for us to do, especially with the largest banks that are basically zombies now." Ohmigod, I was right! (AC360 Review pauses this review to tell you that I wrote that zombie attack thing down on my notes before Clark Howard was even introduced. How weird is that?! We resume this review, already in progress.)

While I envision undead banks, Clark gives us an explainer on what exactly zombifies an institution. Then Anderson throws to the Gerg, who is not at all down with this nationalization thing. He says everyone he's talking to is really apprehensive about the idea because it wipes out private investors. Personally, I'm going to wave my pom-poms for whatever works. Nationalizing the banks sounds scary, but that's probably because it's been drilled into me that nationalization equals socialism and socialism equals bad. So, who knows?

On now to a clip of a couple of people reacting to the stimulus bill. They're skeptical about how it's going to work and where the money will really go. "Not exactly a wellspring of trust," says Anderson. Yes, because two people is an excellent representation of the county's populace. This moves us into a Joe Johns piece on keeping account of the spending. As I posted before, the administration has launched, which allows citizens to track the spending themselves. So that's, you know, awesome.

Not so awesome is that a lot of money will be going to departments and agencies with no specific direction (though if there was specific direction, wouldn't that make it a dreaded earmark?). This can result in phone marking, which is when Congresscritters lobby for money for pet projects after a big spending bill is passed. Apparently, this isn't exactly new, which makes me wonder why our honesty-keepers are just getting around to calling it out now. Oh well. Better late than never. Good piece.

Transitioning now to a David Mattingly piece on some people's dissatisfaction with Obama's acknowledgment of reality, or as David puts it, "too much mope and not enough hope." I'm not sure if that phrasing is coming solely (or at all) from that Mark Mckinnon piece I linked to last night, but if so, how about giving the guy a little shout out if you're going to use his words two nights in a row? Anyway, now even Bill Clinton is accusing Obama of being a Debbie Downer.

Man, how ironic is it that a year or so ago the Clintons were sometimes mocking Obama for his message of hope, and now that the guy is buckling down to actually do the job, he's being urged to lighten up. The man can't win. I completely agree that he has to be careful to not talk down the markets, but geez, man up, America. After David's piece, we bounce back to the panel and the Gerg says he agrees with Clinton, noting that FDR and Reagan always projected a sense that we would ultimately prevail. Uh, hasn't Obama been saying that constantly? Yeah, he doesn't sugarcoat how bad things are, but he also says he's confident we'll get through. I mean, hello!

Next up, we have a piece from Gary Tuchman that details a day in the life of a foreclosure court in Florida. It's called the rocket docket because it handles a thousand cases a day, which is pretty sad. From Gary we learn that, "Foreclosures in Florida sometimes take a year and require a judge's approval." In the rocket docket that usually means a quick once over and signature. One woman shown lost her husband and is now losing her home. Man, life is just so completely not fair. But another woman was surprised with more time from her bank. This was an interesting--though pretty sad--piece.

Moving on, we next have a piece from Tom Foreman, which covers more outrage over the housing bailout. Right off the bat, we're "treated" to a clip of a guy who thinks it's all just an evil Democratic plan to get people dependent on the government, so they'll continue to vote for them. Wow. Way to find a guy spouting one of the most extreme right wing talking points out there. Then we get examples of people being mad on blogs. I guess there are no blogs of people being reasonable about the plan, at least not according to CNN.

We also get a clip of that Rick Santelli rant I linked to last night. The White House has now responded, essentially telling him to read the plan. I went on my own rant about all this last post, so tonight I'll just say that if someone (perhaps Rick Santelli) has a better solution on how to fix the housing market without rewarding those that made bad choices, I am all ears. Otherwise, to again quote my friend, "Life's not fair. Don't be an asshole." This was a fairly one-sided piece. The news loves its controversy.

On now to discussion and question-taking with Clark Howard and Donna Rosato, senior writer at "Money" magazine. Again, I don't really know what makes these people experts, so moving on.

Next up, we have a piece from Erica Hill on how stress of the recession has left people feeling less than frisky. On the other hand, depressed Wall Streeters are paying for their pleasure more than ever. Mmhm. They better not be using bailout money, that's all I have to say.

I'm going to skip "the shot" tonight and instead give you this video I snagged from Andrew Sullivan's blog. It's an awesome explainer of how we got into our current economic mess. Seriously, must watch:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.


Blogger Arachnae said...

Then Anderson throws to the Gerg, who is not at all down with this nationalization thing. He says everyone he's talking to is really apprehensive about the idea because it wipes out private investors.

This drives me absolutely nuts. Oh yeah, let's leave everything in a perpetual state of frozen dread and anxiety to protect the private investors? David, David, David - they're wiped out right now. Plus, if the banks go into chapter eleven, they usually get wiped out anyway.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I watched the video on the credit crisis. I agree with Arachnae's comment. Some of the banks stock prices are so incredibly low, that those shareholders don't have much right now. Really, I'm with you on these pundits worried about Obama's "tone". You just can't please hardly anyone on the cable news. Just when I thought enough about the Octuplet Mother, there will be more drama on the cable. Her boyfriend was interviewed today on the morning news, be prepared for more coverage on this.

6:40 PM  

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