Friday, December 12, 2008

Politics By Barney Frank

Last Tuesday, December 9, I watched the House debate and vote on the bill to fund automakers 14-15 billion dollars in financial support (HR 7321). About midway in the debate, Rep. Frank rose to encourage the passing of the bill and also to recognize a recent amendment to the bill, which he also applauded. This Green Amendment stated that although financial institutions had promised to use the first half of TARP funds to primarily make new loans to help homeowners facing possible foreclosure, these financials had indeed not yet done so, but instead, were still holding onto the money or using it to buy into new bank mergers. A disappointing show of faith, a lack of follow-through. The Green amendment proposed that before further funding to these financial institutions would be approved, they would need to show that they had in fact, made an appropriate number of new loans to avoid possible foreclosures, with the first TARP funds awarded.

So, Frank implied, you members of the House, can hold them more acountable for the remaining TARP funds if you vote for the Green Amendment, AND, since you should vote for this stellar mandate on accountability, then you must of course vote FOR 7321 to fund assistance for the automakers. (ie If you want the one, why would you vote against the other?)

This happens, I'm sure, on a regular basis in Congress, but it was the first time that I could actually watch the "gotcha" in politics in real time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Doublespeak ?

Here are some phrases (approximate quotes) from legislative hearings on the plight of the financial sector:

We are still in a policy process.
We need a paradigm shift.
...using a protocol similar to ours.
...regulatory arbitrage
(We) need more even regulations across a wider range of institutions
(We need) a hightened supervisory process

Oh how the verbally skilled can dazzle Congress.

Friday, December 5, 2008

another "seen on camera" wannabe

Reece Witherspoon is being interviewed on camera. Behind her is a--perhaps 40 something-- woman, who moves closer in, up behind Witherspoon, apparently wanting to hear more clearly. But it is soon apparent that she wants mostly to be seen. As W. speaks, the other, while maintaining an expression of rapt interest, rests her chin on the shoulder of the woman in front of her. This woman, I think, doesn't know her from Adam, shrugs the resting chin back, off. The woman then steps back a bit, readjusts her black wrap around her shoulders, leans over into the warmth of the wrap, while shifting an arm up inside the wrap -- to adjust her dress--? reposition her bra? Further define her cleavage on camera ? Definitely a distraction...!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

While watching CSpan or coverage from Olympia on Legislative debates, I am sometimes struck by the thought that one could concentrate more fully on the content of speakers' presentations if it were not for the distraction of some of those in the first row behind a given speaker, many of whom apparently want badly to be seen or see themselves on camera (or both).

On the other hand, it can lighten things up.

For example, behind a given speaker, an ear will appear, then half a face attached to the ear, then the full face, as the individual, in an effort to be seen, feigns straining to see more clearly, some point out in front and to the left or right of center of the speaker, and in so straining, gets his full face within camera view.

Or, someone directly behind the speaker and therefore largely blocked from on-camera, will squirm in apparent discomfort, un- cross and recross his/her legs, shifting, so that one elbow rests on the opposite knee, conveniently putting him/her in camera view on one side or the other.

Or, an otherwise absorbed listener, will, upon realizing the camera has shifted to him apparently think of some humorous thought to pass on to his neighbor, leaning sideways within camera view, whispering, some apparently humorous inside joke/observation, smiling--but not for the camera, mind you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Plan To Avoid Conflicts of Interest in Reworking Troubled Loans

The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Sunday, November 2, 2008 issue (pg pgB9) carried an excellent article by guest columnists John D. Geanakoplos and Susan P. Koniak entitled "Mortage Justice Would Be Blind." The article details a plan for reworking mortgages, that would remove this responsibility from "master servicers," who are currently stalled by conflicting alliances to various lenders. The responsibility for sorting out which mortages would be bests for reworking and which would not, would be transferred to a neutral group. This group would consist of community-based, community bankers, who would be government- appointed trustees and who would have no conflict of interest or loyalties to any lenders of securities in trouble, as they select securities for reworking or for foreclosure.

I feel the plan has merit for removing the solution to massive foreclosures from the hands of persons and corporations who have gains and or losses riding on the outcome.

In response to my efforts to bring the plan to the attention of the Treasury, I sent an email. I am told that they are sending all their e mails on to the Department of Public Affairs, and according to "Bernice," I may get a reply, but then, I may not.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

second entry

Just testing 123.

first entry

I always thought I was too old to be a blogger, but my 30 something daughter showed me the way !