The Democrats' first black chairman was Ron Brown, elected 20 years
ago. He became commerce secretary in the Clinton administration and was
killed in an overseas plane crash while on government business.
We could turn very, very blue, according to Nate Silver. Watch out for the "ifs".
... For things like gubernatorial elections and
elections to the Congress, the Democrats' upside is very high,
particularly if the party is smart enough to tolerate and accommodate a
diversity of opinions within its umbrella. If
party affiliation stays close to what it was in 2008, then giving the
seats that are up for election, Democrats could very easily pick up
another another 5-7 Senate seats in 2010, giving them not just a
filibuster-proof majority but also a nearly veto-proof one. Party
affiliation probably will not
remain that way -- there is typically a shift back to the non-incumbent
party after the Presidency changes hands -- but if it does we'll have a
very blue Senate. In the House, by contrast, Democratic upside is limited
by the presence of hugely Democratic urban and majority-minority
districts, which suck up Democrats from the surrounding areas. The real
fight in the House may be the redistricting that takes place after 2010
and not the 2010 election itself. ... Nate Silver
Scott Horton: "... Rove promised that he would lock in a durable Republican majority, comparable to the one that FDR built in 1932 ..."
If you’ve never worked on Wall Street, it is hard to wrap your head
around the idea that a company that lost nearly $19 billion in a single
year, as Citigroup did in 2008, could still pay its employees billions
in bonuses. It is probably even harder to believe that some of those
employees grumble about it.
Actually, their bonuses are still pretty rich. They've fallen back to 2004 levels and 2004 levels, by any normal scale, were obscene. Poor guys can't live on those teensy salaries.
“These bonuses are down, and the salaries are not enough for these
people. They can’t live on $150 to $180,000, so they haven’t saved any
money. They put it on credit lines and at bonus time, they thought
they’d pay it off.”
... President Barack Obama promised Saturday to help lower Americans'
mortgage costs with a new plan, coming soon, that would revive the
financial system and "get credit flowing again." ...
my Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for
reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses
and families," Obama, a Democrat, said in his weekly radio address.
"We'll help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs."
Mind you, there's no timetable yet for the new effort. But it's as well to note that this comes with Republican approval and with the additional suggestion that 4% loans backed by the government should be available.
Meanwhile Obama is cracking down on Wall Street firms that have been misusing taxpayer funds.
The president said he would insist on "unprecedented transparency,
rigorous oversight, and clear accountability" for funds that went
toward stabilizing the financial system.
Senate Republicans and even some Democrats are pressing for big changes to the $819 billion economic stimulus package the House passed this week, setting the stage for a bruising debate over tax cuts and spending that will test the Obama White House.
The demand for major changes comes amid mounting criticism from some economists that the bill does not focus tightly enough on government programs that will quickly create jobs or tax breaks that will spark spending by consumers and businesses.
Can't disagree with that. Larry Summers' 3-T formula for a stimulus package will work best: temporary, targeted, and timely. Could Congressional Democrats suspend their long-term agenda until we're back on track? Or, if they have to have their goodies, mix them into the package with greater subtlety?
It looks like JP Morgan did a nasty. Morgan pulled its investments with Madoff out early in the fall of '08, but it did so quietly without telling its clients.
As early as 2006, the bank had started offering investors a way to
leverage their bets on the future performance of two hedge funds that
invested with Mr. Madoff. To protect itself from the resulting risk,
the bank put $250 million of its own money into those funds.
the bank suddenly began pulling its millions out of those funds in
early autumn, months before Mr. Madoff was arrested, according to
accounts from Europe and New York that were subsequently confirmed by
the bank. The bank did not notify investors of its move, and several of
them are furious that it protected itself but left them holding notes
that the bank itself now says are probably worthless.
spokeswoman, Kristin Lemkau, said the bank withdrew from the
Madoff-linked funds last fall after “a wide-ranging review of our hedge
fund exposure.” Ms. Lemkau acknowledged, however, that the bank also
“became concerned about the lack of transparency to some questions we
posed as part of our review.” ...
... "We continued to pay our fees to the bank and remained the only ones
exposed to the risks that JPMorgan did not want to assume,” said the
chief asset manager of an Italian investment firm, who declined to be
identified because of potential litigation.