Michael Wolraich's picture

    Rope-a-McDope

    Back in the doom-and-gloom days of...um...last week, there were a number of stalwart cheerleaders at TPM Cafe who airily assured us that Obama had everything under control. While I wasn't particularly concerned about the polls--I've seen enough elections not to get my knickers in a twist over weekly fluctuations--I had the sense that at least some of those cheerleaders would insist that all was well up to the moment of crushing defeat. The knowing assurances that Obama's hesitance to attack was part of his rope-a-dope strategy seemed the most suspect.

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    Deadman's picture

    A bill we'll be paying back for generations ...

    Ok, so I've admitted that the government probably had to do something to stem the financial crisis.

    Now I'm going to talk about all the ways this bailout could - and probably will - go wrong (with the caveat that all the details still haven't been worked out).

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    Deadman's picture

    All clear? Hardly

    The SEC has banned short-selling on financial stocks. The Treasury has guaranteed money market funds and is cooking up plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to buy distressed assets and save troubled banks. The market has rebounded huge, taking back all of this month's losses.

    So are we all clear??

    Hardly.

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    Deadman's picture

    A lot of Boo ... not so much Yah!

    Whoo-boy. Another fun day on Wall Street. I just got done watching another episode of Jim Cramer's Mad Money and I gotta vent a little bit here.

    I like Cramer. A lot of people think he's a buffoon, but I think he's incredibly smart, and he entertains and informs like few others in the business. And there is no denying his stellar record as a hedge fund manager in his former career (though I would venture that a lot of the practices he now rails against as a voice for the common man- like naked short selling - helped contribute to a lot of that performance).

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    Deadman's picture

    Teach your children well ...

    Many people want to know how this country got into its current economic mess. The news this weekend that some of Wall Street's biggest, most prestigious financial institutions (Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, AIG) are failing and need to be rescued will raise many more questions.

    Of course, the full story is quite complicated, but one of the main drivers behind the current problems is the housing crisis, and the fact that these institutions allowed many homeowners to take on way more debt than they could handle.

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    Deadman's picture

    Merrill saw the light ... Now maybe we can too

    I just wanted to offer my immediate, quick, bullet-point take on the flurry of GIGANTIC market-related news today, which i

    briefly referenced last night.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    (What a) Wonderful Veep...

    with apologies to Sam Cooke

    She don't know much about history
    She don't believe in biology
    She wants to change the science books
    She wants to fire the White House cooks
    But she does know how to speak on cue
    And she knows if she makes fools of you
    What a wonderful veep she would be

    She don't know much about geography
    She don't know much foreign policy
    Don't know much about George Bush's war
    Don't know what a VP is for
    But she knows that one and one is two
    And if McCain just tells her what to do

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Governor, you're no Hillary Clinton (or Dumb and Dumber)

    Those who know my writing here are aware that I have little love for Hillary Clinton. Had she won the nomination, I would have voted for her but not happily. But whatever her flaws, Clinton is extremely intelligent. She has a better command of public and foreign policy than any other candidate who participated in the primaries. Barack Obama, of course, is brilliant in his own right, as is Joe Biden.

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    Deadman's picture

    McCain may be the lipstick ... and the pig

    A struggling economy. Rising unemployment. A crumbling housing market. Ballooning national debt. Disappearing social security and Medicare funds. Surging energy and food prices. Failing financial institutions. A looming environmental catastrophe. Increasing anti-Americanism. Burgeoning terrorist threats.

    This is the reality.

    No matter your political party or ideology, these are the issues that matter.

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    Deadman's picture

    Please fire Linehan ...

    I understand few of my few regular readers will appreciate this particular post, but this is a matter of grave import: I really need the owners of the St. Louis Rams football team to fire their head coach.

    The guy totally ruined my day, which is an impressive feat given how much I was looking forward to it. Today, after all, was the opening game in the touch football league I help organize, as well as the first Sunday of the NFL season.

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    Deadman's picture

    The ties that bind ...

    I didn't want to let go.

    My brother and I were dropping off mom and dad at the airport, appreciating our last moments together after a wonderful week celebrating our cousin's wedding with a lot of other family members.

    It was while I was hugging my parents, saying my goodbyes, that I felt a sudden, powerful twinge of sadness. And I realized I didn't want to let go.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    About Face!

    Sometimes I feel as if we're all participating in some kind of psychology experiment and that any minute now, an old guy in a white coat will peer down from the heavens and tell us that we can remove our armbands and go home. Recent political events seem designed to expose our rational failings and prove that in the end, we're all just rats in a maze.

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    Deadman's picture

    Bullet points ...

    Been away and not able to update the blog, but a lot has gone on in the past week. i won't have the time to do a full posting for a few days, so i thought i'd throw out a bunch of quick hits, in chronological order since I began my trip.

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    Deadman's picture

    The world as it should be ...

    On the same night I wrote about the idealistic Sixties and how the eventual disillusionment that followed has continued to hold its grip on the American psyche,  Michelle Obama gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention about not accepting the 'world as it is" but striving to create the 'world as it should be.'

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    Deadman's picture

    'Hair' yesterday, gone today ...

    Saw the play 'Hair' in Central Park this past weekend.

    Damn, it's a shame I missed the Sixties.

    The outfits were funky and colorful and sexy. The music was danceable and uplifting. The drugs were mostly harmless, more about expanding the mind than escaping reality. And the whole free love thing, well, that seemed pretty groovy too.

    Deadman's picture

    The immigrants can stay, Dobbs must go ...

    This will be a very short post, but I don't understand how Lou Dobbs still has a job. Are his ratings really that good? He's turned a major primetime show on a mainstream news channel into not much more than a mouthpiece for his own personal jihad against illegal immigrants.

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    Deadman's picture

    Change in slow motion ...

    Man* is an unbelievably resilient creature.

    He can go from riches to rags and be OK, as long as he didn't lose his fortunes overnight. He can go from being happily married to bitterly divorced and manage, as long as his love wasn't betrayed in an instant.

    I believe life can throw anything at us, and we will find a way to deal... as long as we have time to adapt.

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    Deadman's picture

    Crying over a stranger ...

    It's amazing the ways a life can touch another.

    Leroy Sievers was a respected and accomplished journalist, covering wars and conflicts all over the globe for CBS News and Nightline, winning a bunch of Emmys and a couple of Peabodys in the process, and yet I think it's fair to say that none of his work likely had as much of an impact as did his very public battle with cancer.

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    Deadman's picture

    Googling 'laziness' ...

    Is Google making us intellectually lazy?

    That was the gist of a question financial wildman Jim Cramer asked Google's CEO Eric Schmidt on a CNBC interview this week. Cramer pointed out that one of his daughter's fifth-grade teachers banned the use of Google for an assignment she received. Schmidt seemed genuinely surprised by the anecdote, comparing it to how math teachers often ban the use of calculators.

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    Deadman's picture

    Manipulated Olympic ceremony makes for perfect China metaphor ...

    So apparently, the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony wasn't exactly what it seemed. A firework display kicking off the countdown was generated by computer graphics, and a little girl performing a popular Chinese nationalist song was actually lip-syncing to the voice of another girl deemed not cute enough for prime time.

    How truly appropriate and how terribly unsurprising.

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