Category Archives: bailout

Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott and Gordon

Our first contestant is soon-to-be-daddy again Scott from Scooter Chronicles:

1. In a previous post, you predicted the winners of each MLB division. Who do you think wins the league pennants, and who wins the World Series?

Once you get to a short series, there are so many variables so it’s hard to say. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a wild card like the Boston Red Sox. And, shades, of 1986, I’m going to pick the Mets to beat them.

By the way, Scott – you NEED this: a free, 586-page PDF of the Emerald Guide to Baseball 2009.

2. What is your take on the AIG bonuses? Where do you think the government needs to take this?

First, those noting that the bonuses were a small percentage of the bailout are correct. Second, the first point is totally irrelevant; AIG is totally tone deaf. I’ve been REALLY uncomfortable with this “too big to fail” label; gives these companies a feeling of entitlement. Given the fact that the average American didn’t even know what AIG WAS a year ago, it’s unsurprising. The only time I ever saw them was on advertisements on Sunday morning talk shows. So their audience was never the average American, it was the DC movers and shakers.

At this point, with over a sixth of a TRILLION dollars already in, the government isn’t going to say to AIG, “Go ahead, go bankrupt,” though those bonuses could have been voided if it had. Some of the bonus monies are going to be given back – or deducted from the next check. But if the government is going to nationalize these companies, and they have all but done so – whatever you want to call it – they damn well better job of setting the rules of engagement for giving away lending OUR money. Politically, if not economically, I think the administration needs to try the “clawback” of AIG bonuses; I know that New York State’s Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has been looking at the contracts as well. Here’s an interesting article about other money our government might try to recover.

3. Who is your favorite musician? Could be a member of a band, or a solo artist, or whomever. But specifically, a musician.

This is probably influenced somewhat by my birthday present, the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD, but I guess I’ll pick Eric Clapton. The stuff on the Yardbirds, Derek and the Dominoes, Blind Faith, his early solo stuff, and especially Cream moved me greatly, and that concert showed that sometimes, he’s still got it.

4. What is your favorite season of the year?

Spring, beginning of new life. It gets warmer. Oddly, it’s also still in Lent, so I get to sing the more mournful stuff in church.

5. Did you read “Watchmen”? If so, what did you think of it? Have any interest in seeing the movie?

I read Watchmen when it came out, and I liked it a lot at the time. I feel as though I should read it again either before or after I see the movie.

Next up, social network maven Gordon from Blog THIS, Pal!

1. Taking a quick business trip to NY City, I want to visit again…but I also want to do more out-of-the-way, quirky places as well as the usual tourist-y stuff. Any suggestions?

The Queens Public Library. Serving the most diverse county in the country, it has a wide variety of collections.

2. Your preliminary thoughts on these early days of the Obama presidency – is he doing right? Way off course?

I have some reservations, but I’m more pleased than displeased. The stuff on Iraq, stem cell research, Gitmo, and much of the stimulus I’m for, especially the emphasis on GREEN jobs and the part about health care, in part because of this story, something Scott has blogged about recently. I loved his apology over the Daschle nomination.

But I’m still not convinced that we’re not going into a quagmire in Afghanistan, as the Soviet Union did, if we’re not already, and more troops might not help. Also, there were a LOT of vacancies in the Treasury Department with a lot to do. I know he inherited TARP, but it rather stinks.

The other question I’ll hold in abeyance.

Still taking more questions!

ROG

Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott

Mr. Scooter Chronicles himself, Scott asks:

Have you ever seen a baseball game at Yankee Stadium? If yes, what are your thoughts on such a hallowed baseball ground seeing its last game?

Actually, not in a long time. The first time, I was a kid, and the Yankees beat the Washington Senators, The last time was probably in 1977 when I lived in Queens. Tearing down the stadium annoys me, because I don’t know why the current facility was inadequate. Oh, it doesn’t have those luxury seats, but after this week, who can afford to buy them anyway. Moreover, the funding is more corporate welfare foolishness.

Who do you think will win the World Series this year?

I picked the Cubs to lose the WS to Cleveland at the beginning of the season. About midseason, I switched to the Cubs over Tampa Bay, so I’ll stick with that. How annoying that my trip to the game was when the Cubs had hit a bad patch.

What do you think would be considered more historic: Obama being elected President, or Palin being elected Vice President?

Well, someone being elected President. If Palin were running for Prez and Obama were running for VP, it’d be Palin, but as it is, Obama. Besides, a woman had at least been NOMINATED before by a major party.

Do you think that the bailouts of financial companies will help the economy in the long run, destroy the idea of creating tax breaks for most of middle America, or see no real lasting effects on anyone?

Well, first off, I’m really ticked off about it. I listened to Henry Paulson, not once but twice on Sunday – Tom on NBC asked better questions than George did on ABC – and I got nothing but “Psst, it’s really bad. Do this or we’re doomed, trust me” without any real information.
I looked at the original language of the bill here and I was gobsmacked by Section 8: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Pardon my French, but WTF? Decisions non-reviewable? Gimme a BREAK!
I’m glad to see Democrats and republicans in Congress find some cojones, apparently because their constituents are hopping mad about this. Arthur at AmeriNZ found this example.
In answer to the question, the devil’s in the details. if there’s help for homeowners who are in their houses, limits on executive compensation and other measures, MAYBE things will turn around some.
And speaking of compensation, from Salon. “Regarding executive pay, Rep. Frank’s draft would mandate that any company selling assets into the program ‘meet appropriate standards for executive compensation,’ including limits on what could be deemed excessive or inappropriate, according to a copy seen by The Wall Street Journal. The government would also have the ability to ‘claw back’ incentive pay that was based on ‘earnings, gains, or other criteria that are later proven to be inaccurate.’ Mr. Paulson is resisting those efforts.
Astoundingly, Paulson plans to fight any efforts to limit executive pay because ‘he fears that provision would render the program moot, since many firms might choose not to participate.’
They might choose not to participate in a $700 billion plan designed to save them from a mess they were primarily responsible for causing? I don’t think I’m alone in finding that prospect irritating.”

On the other hand, someone at Pat Buchanan’s site posted this recently: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.” – Malcolm X
As the letter writer noted, “Sounds pretty damn close to me.”

When was the last time you felt good about voting for a political candidate (on any level of government) feeling that they truly were the right person for the job?

I worked for Tom Keefe for city court judge a few years back. I’d known him for years and he seems to be doing a good job.

What is your favorite “healthy” thing to snack on?

apples and cottage cheese.

What is your favorite “evil” thing to snack on?

Muffins – fruit muffins (blueberry, preferably).

What is your favorite movie comedy of all time?

It’s tricky, because Annie Hall is, but it’s not all that ha-ha funny. On a pure laugh meter it’d be either Airplane! or Young Frankenstein.

Other then Jeopardy!, what is your favorite game show?

I’m partial to the various forms of Pyramid and Password,
ROG