Sunday, November 09, 2008

Falling Five Stories

The point at which a cat reaches terminal velocity and then relaxes its body, creating air drag and in turn softens the impact of its landing.

Stuff on my mind:

  • Obama on the Web. The Freep's Todd Spangler shows how Obama utilized this medium for the election. The thing that struck me is that he did it on his own, bypassing posting on the traditional progressive sites such as Daily Kos. Instead of leaving this campaign in the hands of ideologues with their own agenda who would dilute and/or destroy his inclusive message with their mob-like mentality (and underlying desire for their own power and influence with an ATM atmosphere that raised mobs of cash for candidates they deemed worthy), in a stroke of brilliance, the campaign took control and created their own space for people to express themselves. It was a subtle but important move to create balance on the internet - the bloggers on the left still have their own place, and Obama had his, which showed the world that he is not under their control, but still willing to play the game. Perfect.

    The internet interaction will continue at from the "Office of the President-Elect", complete with blog, space for your posts, and promises of future government transparency. Yeah, Obama's cool and all, but I would hope that independent verification will still come into play.

  • The Next Great Depression. Um, kids, better get some money into the hands of the Big Three soon, because if they go bankrupt, you don't want to see what happens next. Some scary stats from GM-

    GM warned that its cash reserves could sink below the minimum level it needs to operate by year's end unless it gets federal aid or can tap other resources.

    Massive ugliness ensues. Watch what happens. The auto industry wants $50 billion on top of the $25B, and it needs that $25B right now. Reaching that "minimum level to operate" bottom at GM looks like this-

    Perceptions of running out of cash can quickly turn into reality at a company like GM. At year's end, GM's outside auditors have to say whether there's substantial doubt about the company's ability to be, in business parlance, a going concern. If the auditors make such a statement, GM will violate a number of credit agreements, including at least $6 billion in loans -- which banks could call back immediately. The automaker would either have to get a waiver from its lenders or secure even more loans.

    Don't know about the possibilities of a waiver, and more loans seems unlikely, so then this happens-

    GM and other U.S. automakers need such aid or the domestic auto industry will fall, taking with it nearly 3 million jobs and demolishing the retirement funds of people throughout the country, analysts said. For every job in an assembly plant, there are 7.5 jobs with auto parts suppliers and other companies.

    3 million jobs and "demolished retirement funds". Gone. On top of the rapid acceleration of job losses that are already occurring. You can hazard a guess that the ripple effect doesn't stop at 7.5 jobs when you add in things such as consumer confidence and other peripheral factors; the number is probably incalculable.

    Urgent, wouldn't you say? Apparently not if your name is George Bush or Henry Paulson.

    Obama pressed the Bush Administration to speed the disbursement of $25 billion in retooling loans for automakers that were approved by Congress in September. But the Energy Department said in a conference call this week that it was "doubtful" that any money would be released before next year. Automakers can start applying for loans on Monday under the rules released this week.

    Democratic leaders want to extend the Wall Street bailout to automakers through the TARP program - giving taxpayers a stake in the auto companies - and apparently that option is available under the discretion of the Federal Reserve chairman and the Treasury Department.

    What say you, Bush people? Want to put the brakes on the pending collapse of the American economy?

    The White House said Friday it wasn't planning to extend the Wall Street bailout to automakers without direction from Congress. Paulson has preferred that automakers get aid from the Energy Department program first.

    No? Well, alright. Let the legacy be that the Bush administration could have stopped or slowed the freefall, and chose not to.

    Call it a farewell present to the American people, and the card will read: From the Worst. President. Ever.

  • I don't know how long this picture will stay up, but the shot of all the winning Democratic candidate's lawn signs at the spot of the (disputed) "birthplace of the Republican Party" in Jackson, Michigan is one to savor. Go take a look.

  • Overall national voter turnout Tuesday didn't hit the numbers they had predicted, lack of Republican participation seems to be the culprit. George Weeks tells us that Michigan set a record with 5.1 million voters. Participation was at 68%, eclipsed by a 73% turnout in 1960. Nobody is sure just what is wrong with Detroit, where only just over half the city's eligible voters turned out for this historic election. Someone should look deeper into the reasons why.

  • Jack Lessenberry adds up the Michigan facts from the election - and wow, lookit all the record-setting blue, blue, blue, every where you turn in this state. One for the ages. A must read. The AP/Detroit News has the national party identification breakdown - the "biggest partisan shift in a generation" rejects Republicans but doesn't necessarily embrace Democrats. There is a warning in there somewhere, but chances are Saul will miss it.

  • John Engler is still a pig. A deluded one at that. Harsh, but true. Sorry, I call 'em like I see 'em, and Big John will forever be on my shit list unless he improves his attitude.

  • Lame Duck Legislature. A big list of legislation will expire unless they take action, but the news that we are facing deep cuts (sigh) in the budget might spoil the party. Stay tuned to see what they get done before the fresh crop of legiscritters takes office in January.