Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

It is from 31 years ago but this still my favorite line from a Thanksgiving TV episode --


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Viagra vs Abortion

The fabulous Digby has hit the nail on the head as usual:

I have a moral objection to paying for any kind of erectile dysfunction medicine in the new health reform bill and I think men who want to use it should just pay for it out of pocket. After all, I won't ever need such a pill. And anyway, it's no biggie. Just because most of them can get it under their insurance today doesn't mean they shouldn't have it stripped from their coverage in the future because of my moral objections. (I don't think there's even been a Supreme Court ruling making wood a constitutional right. I might be wrong about that.)

Many of the men who are prescribed this medication are on Medicare, so I think it should be stripped out of that coverage as well. And unlike the payments for abortion, which actually lower overall medical costs (pregnancy obviously costs much, much more) banning tax dollars from covering any kind of Viagra would result in a substantial savings. . .

I completely agree. Where do I sign the petition?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stupak Amendment is a Poison Pill

I say if the Stupak Amendment is in the final bill after conference -- vote against it. I will not throw young women under the bus for these Blue Dogs and Republithugs.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Legalized Cookin' the Books

While we're all focused on health care and spree shootings, bankers are quietly trying to sneak a new law in that would legalize falsifying financial statements.

We've been waiting for regulatory reform of the financial services industry and what we're getting instead is a permission for banks to use smoke and mirrors. Banks are trying to get Congress to agree that the next time there's a big downturn, they should have the ability to alter their accounting standards -- essentially, fudge the numbers -- so that the public and investors won't be able to tell how insolvent they really are. By ignoring their declining asset values, they can avoid the standard requirement of raising more capital. This is a Democrat sponsored bill. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., wants to amend the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009. Perlmutter’s proposal would hand over responsibility for overseeing accounting standards to the agencies being contemplated to oversee systemic risk, which could allow most companies to never comply with the law, and if that doesn't do enough harm it would also mandate a study to see whether it would be a good idea to exempt additional ones as well.

Sarbanes-Oxley was passed, almost unanimously, by a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled Senate. Now a Democratic Congress is gutting it with the apparent approval of the Obama administration. Wednesday they passed an amendment that exempt small and mid-size companies from audits required under the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-reform law. Now they start sidsussing whether to extend these powers to the financial services. I don't understand why we're even considering this.

The American Bankers Association is now pushing Congress to give a new systemic risk regulator — either the Federal Reserve or some panel of regulators — the power to override accounting standards. The view of the bankers is that the financial crisis did not stem from the fact that the banks made lots of bad loans and invested in dubious securities; it was caused by accounting rules that required disclosure when the losses began to mount.

I can't believe I'm on the same side of an issue as the Chamber of Commerce but bad laws make strange bedfellows.

Of course the Chamber is looking at it in terms of investors but my point of view is that of a regulator. People think regulators have all the power and we can close financial institutions on a whim. Not so, generally we watch financial institutions that we know are not survivable limp along and waste away until they at last become insolvent and we can grab control. But by then it's too late to save anything so we end up liquidating It would really save money if we could conserve earlier rather than waiting until they are a corpse or zombie. If this new bill passes, it could become impossible to recognize an insolvent financial institution.

Braney Frank hasn't weighed in yet. I hope he comes with some common sense.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hoffman is Thrown Under the Bus

Big surprise! Hoffman lost in NY-23. (snark, snark)

A week ago Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman met with the editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times, the largest paper in the district. After Hoffman “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents,” his companion in the meeting, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, rose to his defense by dismissing regional concerns as “parochial” issues that would not determine the outcome of the election.

Today the story is different. Politico reports on a conference call Wednesday with reporters to discuss the 2009 election results, Dannenfelser, Campaign for Working Families PAC President Gary Bauer and National Organization for Marriage Executive Director Brian Brown largely avoided analyzing the New York special election and focused on GOP victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races. They report Dick Armey had some thoughts:
Armey, the former House GOP majority leader, noted that Democrats had seized on Hoffman’s inability to address local concerns.

“The fact of the matter is, he didn’t pay enough attention to the local concerns, and they were able to tag him as being unaware of the local needs and concerns,” Armey said.

I expect my Congressman to be aware and an advocate for my local issues first and foremost. But the tea-baggers have a litmus test that their candidates must only subscribe and follow the Glen Beck 9.12. And if you don't win after all their money, talent, and celebrity then there's something wrong with you.

Luckily NY-23 saw how they were trying to use them and looked out for their interests first.

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