Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis

McCain's talk radio supporters are trying to rewrite history regarding the causes of the financial crisis.

This article sets the record straight.

By David Goldstein and Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

Creationism: State School Board

Progressives should be alert to the race for the Ohio School Board, where the issue of creationism is unfortunately is being overlooked by many.

In District 6 (Columbus metro), candidate Kristen McKinley can be counted on to fight against efforts to put "intelligent design" aka creationism into the statewide science curriculum. Schools are obligated to follow state standards, so our votes for state school board candidates do count!

In her letter to voters, McKinley says,

"I am aware of the time spent by the current Board debating curriculum issues such as creationism versus evolution. Because the current state of the law is a separation between church and state, debating this subject is whittling away public funds over an issue that has no current place in public schools. I believe that there are far more pressing issues that this Board must address."

McKinley is endorsed by the Franklin County Democrative Party, the Ohio Education Association, Ohio Association of Public School Employees, Ohio Federation of Teachers, and Ohio AFL-CIO.

Obama's prediction

Campaign Funnies: Palin Blasts Obama's Ties to the Weather Channel

‘Palling Around with Meteorologists,' Guv Claims

PAlaska governor Sarah Palin went on the attack today, claiming that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama had longstanding ties to The Weather Channel.

"What does it say about our opponent that he thinks this nation's weather is so imperfect that he needs to be allied with The Weather Channel?" she asked a crowd in Tampa, Florida. "There's a fine line between hating America's weather and hating America herself."

Gov. Palin said that she learned about Sen. Obama's ties to The Weather Channel last week "when I was trying hard to read The New York Times."

"They said that Sen. Obama was hanging out with weathermen," she said. "Do we really want to elect someone who has been palling around with meteorologists?"

Gov. Palin's latest attacks came on the heels of a new poll showing that the only demographic group that still support her are morons, sometimes referred to by political insiders as "no-information voters."

"It may sound like she spouting idiocy, but there's a method to her madness," said Tracy Klugian, a Republican strategist. "She's speaking to her base."

Elsewhere, Sen. John McCain's practice session for the second presidential debate was cut short when his pants burst into flame.

Obamanomics and closing the income gap

In the 2nd Presidential debate, Obama said:

"Prosperity is not just going to trickle down. We've got to help the middle class. Part of the problem here is that for many of you, wages and incomes have flat-lined. For many of you, it is getting harder and harder to save, harder and harder to retire."

Obama's pointing out our nation's increasing income inequality.

The majority of social scientists believe that income inequality currently poses a problem for American society, and Alan Greenspan stated it to be a "very disturbing trend."

As I've often said... this [increasing income inequality] is not the type of thing which a democratic society—a capitalist democratic society—can really accept without addressing. - Alan Greenspan, June 2005

The chart (right) shows that the total share of national income going to the super-rich has more than doubled since 1979. The merely well off have also gotten a slightly bigger piece of the pie, while everyone else has funded this free-for-all. "Everyone else," in this case, means 90% of the country. Our share of national income has gone down in order to make sure that virtually all the fruits of economic growth over the past four decades could go to the well-off, the rich, and the super-duper-rich.

Closing the income gap continues to be one of Obama's highest priorities. (NYTimes: Closing Income Gap Tops Obama’s Agenda for Economic Change). McCain wants more tax cuts for the rich; Mr. Obama wants tax cuts for the poor and middle class. And economic history is on Obama's side (NYTimes: Would Obama’s Plan Be Faster, Fairer, Stronger?)

 

Obama walks the talk on health care

Another reason to be proud of Barack Obama. Here's an editorial from the Zanesville Recorder:

Obama covers health care

Recently Sara Eckhouse, the Obama field organizer in Zanesville, fell and had to be taken to the emergency room. Accidents happen, of course, but I was surprised when I took Sara to the emergency room. Sara had complete medical coverage from the Obama campaign.

Over the years, I have known a lot of campaign workers. However, this is the first time I have ever known a campaign to cover the temporary people who work the campaign.

Barack Obama is willing to put his money where his health concerns are. You and I know that he could have bought thousands of campaign commercials with the money he is spending on health care for his temporary campaign workers. Instead, he makes sure that people, like Sara working in Zanesville, has health coverage.

If Obama spends his campaign money to ensure that his workers have health care (and no one knows about it), don't you think he will be concerned with the health care of all of us?

P.S.

Sara has a broken nose and is doing fine.

How U.S. Regulators Laid the Groundwork for Disaster

NYTimes: The Reckoning: Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt

Many events in Washington, on Wall Street and elsewhere around the country have led to what has been called the most serious financial crisis since the 1930s. But decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004, explain why the problems could spin out of control. The agency’s failure to follow through on those decisions also explains why Washington regulators did not see what was coming.

On that bright spring afternoon, the five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission met in a basement hearing room to consider an urgent plea by the big investment banks.

They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

The five investment banks led the charge, including Goldman Sachs, which was headed by Henry M. Paulson Jr. Two years later, he left to become Treasury secretary.

A lone dissenter — a software consultant and expert on risk management — weighed in from Indiana with a two-page letter to warn the commission that the move was a grave mistake. He never heard back from Washington.

This article is now the most popular on the NYTimes site.

 

If you own a dog

Watch this video:

Sarah Palin is an enthusiastic supporter of aerial wolf gunning. Often wolves shot from the air are not killed outright and left to die on the ground. Palin enthusiastically defends this cruelty. You can find out more here.

It is no accident that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has decided to endorse Obama for president this year. They have never endorsed a president before.

Rep. Ted Celeste Earns Dispatch Endorsement

Congratulations to Ted Celeste on his endorsement by the Columbus Dispatch:

For General Assembly: Ted Celeste, Dan Stewart, Tracy Heard
Three incumbents in 24th, 25th and 26th districts merit another House term
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 3:18 AM

As state lawmakers and the governor continue to grapple with problems such as Ohio's stagnant economy, school funding and a huge projected budget shortfall, incumbent state Reps. Ted Celeste, Dan Stewart and Tracy Heard have the experience to help.

• In the 24th District, which includes Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington and Valleyview, The Dispatch endorses first-term Democratic incumbent Ted Celeste.

Celeste, the younger brother of former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste, has demonstrated the ability to reach out to majority Republicans in the legislature. He has made mental-health issues his specialty. He sponsored bills to cover treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder for military personnel, increase state services for families with autistic children and expand mental-health coverage to include drug and alcohol treatment. He is a former member of the Ohio State University board of trustees and is a longtime businessman, giving him a solid understanding of the state's higher-education needs and of the problems facing business owners.

He avoided negative ads in winning this seat in 2006 and continued that in this year's campaign against Republican Tim Rankin, who served two four-year terms on the Upper Arlington City Council.

He avoided negative ads in winning his seat in 2006 and continued that in this year's campaign. . ."

Top Ten Messages Left on Sarah Palin's Answering Machine

From The Late Show with David Letterman, October 3, 2008.
p
10. "Hi, it's John McCain; I had to go to bed. How did it go?"
9. "Katie Couric here. Have you thought of a Supreme Court case yet?"
8. "Hi, it's Bill Clinton. Let me know when Todd's out of town."
7. "My name is Joseph Six-Pack - Knock it off"
6. "Hi, Katie Couric again - Think of any newspapers yet?"
5. "Buy the Late Show Fun Facts. It's a bridge to hilarity"
4. "John McCain again; Could you pick up my prescriptions?"
3. "Senator Larry Craig here - Do you have Joe Biden's phone number?"
2. "McCain again; Do you remember where I parked the Straight Talk Express?"
1. "It's President Bush. If you're at the debate, who's watching Russia?"

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer