Printed in the January 14, 2010 edition.
By: Celia Murray
The very mention of the TARP program provokes strong, negative comments from many segments. In September, 2008, the nation’s financial system was in crisis, and Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson stepped in to save the day by pumping billions of public dollars into private banks. On Nov. 12, 2008, Paulson announced a dramatic shift in his strategy to deal with the rolling financial crisis. Rather than use the $700 billion TARP funds to buy troubled assets from banks, as originally promised, he would dole it out in the form of cash, providing capital injections in exchange for preferred stock.
Newsweek examined the banking crisis after one year, at the end of 2009, and acknowledged that “critics say Paulson's decision to switch up the TARP is at the root of the where we are today, with record Wall Street bonuses, zombie banks, and a festering bipartisan suspicion that nothing's changed.” Still, concludes Newsweek’s Matthew Phillips, “a closer examination shows that Paulson made the right decision. Its original inception was ill-conceived and would have likely led to an even bigger financial catastrophe. The problem isn't that Paulson decided to give the banks the money, it's that he didn't ask for enough in return.”
"They didn't extract sensible terms," says Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF. Johnson points out that Paulson didn't ask of its own banks what the U.S. regularly asks of developing countries when cleaning up their banking systems. "One of the first things that's done is to fire the managers that oversaw the problems," says Johnson. "Yet shockingly, this hasn't happened in the U.S. These guys are still there for the most part."
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
Someone wrote and asked what the republican’s plan was other than to whine about democrats. Surely he jests. Democrats do not want to hear from republicans. As President Obama likes to remind everyone, “We won.”
Democrats have a 244 to 158 vote majority in the House and a 60 to 40 vote majority in the Senate and do not need any republican votes to pass anything they want. Their disastrous stimulus bill that has increased our deficit by $787 billion, given us a 10 percent unemployment rate and seven million unemployed workers was passed by Ddemocrats with no republican votes.
Democrats had to resort to unusual tactics to push through the healthcare bill that is opposed by the majority of voters. Nancy Pelosi changed the locks on the house committee room to keep republicans out while they wrote the healthcare bill behind closed doors. Even with a 60 to 40 vote majority in the Senate, the democrats passed the bill in the dead of night with no debate by bribing democrat senators such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana with $100s of millions per year in Medicare concessions for their states. Harry Reed and Pelosi promise to abandon the normal legislative procedure and to lock out republicans while a final version of the healthcare bill is crafted by democrats behind closed doors.
Note that the three senator’s votes weren’t needed to pass the healthcare bill; they were needed to shut off debate so that the republican’s ideas would not be heard. As I said, democrats don’t want to hear the republican’s ideas; they don’t want to hear from republicans period.
By: Dick Hodgetts; Columnist
You may be surprised to learn that Madison has a rabbi. I confess to taking the term and applying a modern non-Jewish connotation to it. For those of you who have not had the privilege of attending a Jewish religious ceremony, the rabbi- or teacher, is akin to our Pastor in the Protestant faith. So, for the purposes of this story we are going to borrow from our Old Testament brothers and use the term rabbi in a New Testament manner. Just who is our rabbi?
Perhaps you have heard or know about Jeff Davis, teaching pastor. His congregation meets each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. for a social gathering, religious services begin at 10:15 a.m. All this occurs at the Convention Center located just below the 220 Restaurant. Take it from me and those who live close by, they are a joyous bunch! You can hear them sing both traditional and contemporary songs from a good distance away. Whatever they do, they do with enthusiasm!
Letting go or hanging on.
When committing last July to run the January 2010 Disney marathon, I couldn’t foresee race day temperatures in the 20s with wind chills into the teens. The Weather Channel announced exposed skin warnings and risk of hypothermia. Dressed in so many mixed-match layers, it appeared I was going on a date with the Michelin Man and trying a little too hard to impress.
At the start of the race in the cold and dark, it was hard to imagine ever being warm. But once you start running 26.2 miles, things do heat up and you need to shed some clothing.
Mile three I started sweating, yet was afraid to let go of that top sweatshirt. What if I needed it later? Stripping it off, I left it in a clump on the side of the road in the dark.
Farewell to thee.
Mile 10 my hands stung. I picked up a bundled pair of lime green cotton yard gloves someone tossed. Perfectly fitting over my already bulging mitts of two gloves and Hot Hands, those castoffs were as gold to me.
At miles 25, feeling miserable but running strong, I passed the place where I cried (and hyperventilated) last year. No tears this time.
Then I saw a couple wearing shirts declaring they were running in memory of a young man. Stopping to walk, the woman told her partner to go on without her. He turned and said, “I’m not leaving you. We’re finishing this together.” That’s all it took. Tears sprouted and a big lump lodged in my throat that I tried to squish down…which ended up causing me to hyperventilate.
I came within a minute of my goal for the race. Along the way, I discarded a stocking cap, sweat pants, black gloves and two sweatshirts. Even the pair of garden gloves which I swore to keep till my dying day — since they were my saviors at mile 10 – were tossed into a trash can at mile 16.
Printed in the January 7, 2010 edition.