Monday, December 22, 2008

What was the alternative?

I don't think the government had much choice given how the way rest of the economy is now headed, but I still think this ad is very funny. H/t Sully

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

American students ripped off by finanacial aid officers

Would you believe college financial aid officers actually scam their own students? The Nation reports:
Total private-sector student loan debt is estimated to be about $20 billion and growing. It is more than the external debt of the Ivory Coast. Many of these young people are in this situation because they have been betrayed by administrators in their own colleges and universities. The betrayers are the student aid officers who took bribes from loan companies to steer young people just out of high school into signing up for the high-interest, high-profit loans.
NAF reports:
Our . . . investigation and those of others . . . revealed a series of payoffs, kickbacks, and luxury gifts to aid officials, thus compromising college-student relationships. Supposedly impartial intermediaries in the federal financial aid system were operating with substantial personal conflicts of interest.
Now consider this: students graduating in 2009 will be saddled with the equivalent of home mortgages (without the home) and as the recession deepens, will have little prospect of finding a job.

On another note, today's WaPo had a full page advertisement by some presidents of major universities urging
"funding" of "construction and renovation projects on public and private campuses. The article said the university presidents' "proposed initial use for the money, would create hundreds of thousands of jobs. The proposed investment initially would be used to build classroom and research buildings that conform to "green" standards."
Nothing said about upgrading existing buildings, funding scholarships, or hiring sufficient numbers of full-time faculty. Today's typical overpaid university president just loves building more buildings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Worthless mainstream US news media

Frankly, the Blagojevich scandal bores me. Did he start any wars? Loot the treasury? No, the guy is simply a goofball. Greenwald blogs about the media obsession with the case, juxtaposing it to the media's unwillingness to discuss last week's US senate report on torture:
The media fixation on the ultimately irrelevant Blagojevich scandal, juxtaposed with their steadfast ignoring of the Senate report documenting systematic U.S. war crimes, is perfectly reflective of how our political establishment thinks. Blagojevich's laughable scheme is transformed into a national fixation and made into the target of collective hate sessions, while the systematic, ongoing sale of the legislative process to corporations and their lobbyists are overlooked as the normal course of business. Lynndie England is uniformly scorned and imprisoned while George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are headed off to lives of luxury, great wealth, respect, and immunity from the consequences for their far more serious crimes. And the courageous and principled career Justice Department lawyer who blew the whistle on Bush's illegal spying programs -- Thomas Tamm -- continues to have his life destroyed, while the countless high-level government officials, lawyers and judges who also knew about it and did nothing about it are rewarded and honored, and those who committed the actual crimes are protected and immunized.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Conditions for saving the big 3

Michael Moore:
The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.
Tom Freedman:
You want my tax dollars? Then I want to see the precise production plans and timetables for the hybridization of all your cars and trucks within 36 months. I want every bailed-out car company to move to hybrid electric drive trains, because nothing would both improve mileage and emissions more — and also stimulate a whole new 21st-century, job-creating industry: batteries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quote of the day

Inter-marriages between and among media stars and political figures -- and lobbyists, operatives and powerful political officials -- are now more common than arranged royal marriages were among 16th Century European monarchs.

- Glenn Greeenwald, Salon
SPECIAL COVERAGE I live-blogged the spontaneous Obama victory celebration in Washington DC. Experience what it felt like to be among thousands of deliriously happy people gathered outside the White House. Click here.

Previously, I had been blogging about the Obama, McCain and the US election. I wrote about Sarah Palin on this blog even before McCain chose her to be his running mate. The choice was disappointing, and a possibility I had anticipated.

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