Friday, December 26, 2008

NY Governor Paterson Concerned about Gossip over Clintons Replacement?

The AP is reporting that NY Governor Patterson would like less gossip regarding his selection of a replacement for Senator Hillary Clinton’s senate seat. Apparently, the Governor does not understand that politician’s are now in the same spotlight as Hollywood Celebs, possibly more so. The fact that Caroline Kennedy is actively seeking the spot has generated news and controversy since her name was mentioned - Kennedy, (the name alone is synonymous with gossip) the daughter of Jack Kennedy, Manhattan socialite and author, has keep a fairly low profile, (outside of the occasional mention in the tabloids or the press (Google articles date to 1961 forward) is a social celebrity in her own right, add dynastic political ambitions and one has a Super Celebrity – Social Celebrity plus Political Celebrity.

Apparently, Paterson missed the phenomena of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin in the past general election. Obama appeared clad in a bathing suit early in the campaign, while paparazzi recently chased him to Hawaii where one managed to get a “'Pec-tacular' Obama Shot” according to the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, the GOP’s Rock Star, continues to receive high Google searches (up to 49,200,000!), and stories regarding her daughters future mother-in-law is fodder for the tabloids and the Associated Press (which had the class to carry the story).

Suddenly politicians have adoring fans, and are front page news on both Tabloids and more “normal” news outlets. The publics insatiable desire to learn more about their favorite “star” is driving this phenomena – blame reality television, or the dummying down of America (the Teachers Union), and the politician’s themselves who court and are courted by daytime talk shows and the nighttime comedy – whatever combination of the aforementioned is responsible, the fact that dignity and competence are no longer a criteria for high office is becoming clear. Although politicians may use these mediums to communicate with the “Masses”, it is not without a price – Oprah and (pick a View Member) are more interested in what they are wearing, or where they are vacationing, than what they might intend to do once elected. The political message is lost as the popular culture cries out for more “beefcake shots” of the President-elect and more “scandalous” stories about his rivals. Caroline Kennedy will amass more speculation and Enquirer front page stories than Obama, and she most certainly must have been aware of the consequences, even if the Governor has been living under a rock.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Massachusetts Tax (Penalty Fee) for Uninsured to rise in 2009

Under the current Massachusetts Universal Health Care initiative, those who decline to carry health insurance are currently assessed a “fee” of $76 dollars per month, will be paying a slightly higher fee in 2009: $89 per month. This fee is based on the premise that an individual earning $31,212 or a family of 3 earning $52,812 are capable of carrying “affordable” health insurance. According to the State, an affordable premium based on a family plan in Western Massachusetts, with a mean age between 45 and 49, is $820 per month. , or $9,840 annually. Alhtough there are subsidies in place for those families earning less than $61, 956, circumstances may make it less expensive for some families to pony up the $912 Tax to the State than to carry “affordable health insurance”. Should they not be able to afford the Tax, it is a surety that Massachusetts will assess additional "fees".

Massachusetts has consistently lost population - with each new tax, fee, or regulation causing individuals and businesses to relocate. Learn more about Massachusetts Mandated Health Care and supporting legislation at
Commonwealth Care, the State-Run Health Insurance Agency.

Barney Frank – Unhinged – Spends Week Blasting Obama

Barney Frank (D-MA) is certainly garnering a great deal of press this week. He’s been busy trying to recast Freddie and Fannie, an agency which he helped to destroy. (From the Boston Globe “Franks Fingerprints Are All Over the Financial Fiasco”). He also feels that he need not wait for the President Elect (or head of his Party), in order to take control of dispersing Bailout billions:


Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Monday he is preparing legislation to require that some of the bailout money be spent for specific purposes, such as stemming foreclosures and reducing mortgage rates. Frank is pushing to get the second half of the $700 billion rescue fund released next month, before President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated.
Frank's bill would impose tighter restrictions on the second $350 billion, such as requiring banks to report on their new lending every quarter and toughening limits on executive compensation. Many U.S. banks have received federal capital in an effort to stimulate lending.
"I don't want to wait until Obama," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a phone interview. "I think we can do it now."

Reminder: This is the very same Barney Frank who felt there was no need for Transparency in how the Bailout Billions were dispersed by the Fed:

In an interview Nov. 6, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said the Fed's disclosure is sufficient and that the risk the central bank is taking on is appropriate in the current economic climate. Frank said he has discussed the program with Timothy F. Geithner, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a possible candidate to succeed Paulson as Treasury secretary.
``I talk to Geithner and he was pretty sure that they're OK,'' said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. ``If the risk is that the Fed takes a little bit of a haircut, well that's regrettable.'' Such losses would be acceptable, he said, if the program helps revive the economy.

Barney Frank is always Pretty Sure – He is never 100 percent positive unless of course, he’s writing glowing letters to his buddy George Soros (PDF download available from Canada Free Press!) or involved in his latest hobby: Trashing the President-Elect.

Apparently, Barney, is already duking it out with the new Republican Majority Whip Eric Cantor over the auto bailout. Cantor indicated that the Republican’s would be willing to work with Obama, putting Frank’s proverbial panties in yet another bunch.

Frank has been after the President Elect for a variety of issues, and none more pressing than the selection of Pastor Rick Warren inauguration invocation, which is a personal affront to Frank. Warren, as a Christians leader, does not support Gay Marriage, neither does President Elect Obama – one has to wonder who Frank would have Obama choose to deliver an invocation (prayer).

Now that the President Elect has stood up to Frank and his minions, Frank is spouting to anyone who’ll listen “Obama overestimates his Charm”. From She Frank complains that Obama, in choosing Warren, did so only to strengthen relations with the “other side of the aisle”, and that he would not be able to work with Republicans, due to their extreme partisanship.

Seriously, Barney needs to keep his interviews straight; the Republican’s are willing to work with Obama, its Frank that’s not willing to work with anyone. Furthermore, he had little to do with Obama’s election or campaign, for that matter; so, one could assume that the President Elect owes Frank nothing.

It is the article of from “The Hill entitled “Rep. Frank: Obama 'Overestimates' Ability to Unify' (See article from She, or more specifically, the comments, that give insight into how Rep. Barney Frank is viewed by most.

Frank, although recently reelected (one could surmise on Obama’s coattails), has not had stiff competition from any party. Although he did face a Republican opponent, in Earl Sholley, the Press was most favorable to Barney Frank (go figure), and Sholley had no name recognition or branding behind him which would have given Frank, this time, a run for his money. Those in Massachusetts who would like some dignity and accountability in a politician, may feel compelled to actually mount a serious campaign next time around.

In the meantime, Obama is gaining respect from those independent conservatives for sticking to his guns about Warren, despite Barney Frank and Co’s, incessant whining, as well as his move to the center. One can imagine a day might come, when like King Carlos to Chavez, President Barack Obama will tell Barney Frank to “Shut Up”.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Incredible - The New York Times Blames Bush Philosophy for Mortgage Crisis

In a six page article under the Times Business Section,
(web published Dec. 20th), the Times outlines how President Bush might be to blame for the Mortgage Crisis, citing his philosophy of increased home ownership as the main cause, coupled with a desire to de-regulate. They do talk about his concern over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, but fail to mention the root cause of that failure, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, both Democrats, who continued to confirm the solvency of the Government Run mortgage giant.

Several points made in the article are incredulous:

“He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.”

The Times has apparently forgotten that those lax lending standards were in place before President Bush took office, instituted under President Carter, The Community Reinvestment Act. This bit of legislation put lenders under fire for failing to grant loans to individuals due to lack of credit - banks and mortgage companies had no recourse but to loan to those without a solid credit history. This “philosophy” was further pushed by ACORN, a non-profit that is not known to be in the back pocket of your average Republican.

When President Bush called for more home-ownership, some lenders responded by introducing the variable rate mortgage to those who had zero credit or the ability to pay that mortgage once the interest rate ballooned. In other words, although the lending practices might be considered a bit shady, the individuals signing the mortgage might have understood that at some point, they would not be able to afford their home. Somehow, this becomes President Bush’s fault:

It was June 17, 2002, a day Mr. West recalls as “the highlight of my life.” Mr. Bush, in Atlanta to unveil a plan to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million, was touring Park Place South, a development of starter homes in a neighborhood once marked by blight and crime.
Mr. West had patrolled there as a police officer, and now he was the proud owner of a $130,000 town house, bought with an adjustable-rate mortgage and a $20,000 government loan as his down payment — just the sort of creative public-private financing Mr. Bush was promoting.
“Part of economic security,” Mr. Bush declared that day, “is owning your own home.”
A lot has changed since then. Mr. West, beset by personal problems, left Atlanta. Unable to sell his home for what he owed, he said, he gave it back to the bank last year. Like other communities across America, Park Place South has been hit with a foreclosure crisis affecting at least 10 percent of its 232 homes, according to Masharn Wilson, a developer who led Mr. Bush’s tour.

Somehow, Bush is to blame for Mr. West's dilemma.

Other notes of interest in this particular article:

Further, Bush requested that Congress help first time home owners with closing costs, which he saw as a barrier to some - Congress complied. No kidding.

A host of Bush advisers have come “out of the closet”, citing instances where Bush may have been responsible, and the President, of course, declined an interview with the Times.

A favorite revelation in this astonishing article comes on page three of six:

And he pushed to allow first-time buyers to qualify for federally insured mortgages with no money down. Republican Congressional leaders and some housing advocates balked, arguing that homeowners with no stake in their investments would be more prone to walk away, as Mr. West did. Many economic experts, including some in the White House, now share that view.

Republican Congressional Leaders, and conservatives, had often called into question the President acting a tad more liberal than conservative. This truism seems to have escaped the Times, who has painted the President as a strict conservative at all times, someone whose policies and actions are so far-right they must be feared. Suddenly, they find that he might be a bit more moderate.

The rest of the piece is devoted to drawing a conclusion by way of the donations made to the Republican Party; donors which are tied to the Banking and Mortgage industry. One would be hard pressed to find an article during the 2008 presidential campaign, that did not find the Times or other like-minded editorial newspapers, blasting the McCain campaign for bringing up names like Ayers, or Wright, or, for that matter, the fact that the Obama campaign gave a hefty sum to a group mentioned in this article, ACORN, in an effort to “get out the vote”.

Now that the election is over, the Times has taken it upon themselves to make sure that the financial crisis America faces falls on the shoulders of one administration, and that no blame be placed elsewhere. The fact remains, that both parties are to blame for the present situation, and that the President, for all the power that the press believes that office has, must first go through the Congress - that the President, although the “leader of the Country, is merely, the “Titular Head of his/or her (ever hopeful), respective Political Party.

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