Archives for FUBAR

Looks like bailouts don’t work

Conservative Republicans regularly accuse liberal Democrats to trying to solve problems by throwing money at them. The Federal Reserve has been throwing billions into the banking system to stabilize the credit markets and no one has been complaining about it.

This week the Fed participated in an unprecedented global rate cut: An orchestrated cut in interest rates with 20 other nations in an attempt to encourage financial institutions to borrow from their central banks and begin making loans to credit-starved businesses.


Read More

Hang on: Things are getting ugly

Maybe it was necessary, this establishment-endorsed, fear-driven, hastily constructed $700 billion bailout gamble meant to avoid a devastating credit crunch. But whether it was or wasn't, it is towing something politically perilous in its train.

Again and again, this Wall Street package will be used as an excuse to try to take freedom out of our markets, to throttle them with excessive regulation and leave them shorn of the innovation and energy that add up to prosperity. It will be used as an excuse for something else, too -- the creation of a European-style welfare state.


Read More

Giving the FBI a license to snoop

This is a cautionary tale.

In 1947, Gen. William "Wild Bill" Donovan proposed a new agency for gathering intelligence to replace the Office of Strategic Services OSS that he had headed so successfully in helping win World War II. The legendary spymaster would have been the logical choice to lead an effort that would be at the forefront of the fight against communism throughout the Cold War.


Read More

A campus culture of secrecy

For many major universities, their sports teams, especially their football and basketball teams, give them their proud persona. The teams and their star players are virtually worshipped.

But while sports bring schools fame, glamour and money, the value placed on sports often produces scandal and potential scandal, corruption, abuse and a culture of secrecy. Presidents, governing boards, coaches and university-friendly lawyers will go to great lengths to play down scandal, especially sexual assault, and hide it altogether.


Read More

Time for a Plan B?

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt made headlines -- and got kudos -- for his department's proposal Wednesday to use postal workers to distribute protective antibiotics to individual households in the event of an anthrax attack.

A dry run in Philadelphia convinced officials that the concept could work. In that test, 50 mail carriers reached 55,000 households in less than eight hours, a level of penetration deemed successful.


Read More

A lesson from the depression

Endlessly, to some degree dangerously, commentators keep comparing the nation's present financial mess to the Great Depression, an assessment amiss in many ways but correct in at least one.

In both instances, it was largely government flubs prompting market malfunctions that sought out shoved calamity the public's way, and that's worth thinking about even if some are now saying we should fix the future instead of dwelling on what got us here.


Read More

Main Street needs to support bailout

To all you "Main Streeters" who protested the federal bailout plan for its lack of accountability and socialization of losses, I have a message for you. I feel your pain, I share your pain, but things are only going to get worse if Americans don't come together and tell their members of Congress to vote for it.


Read More

Stifling freedom…Arab style

Not since the Nazi book burnings of the 1930s has free speech been as endangered as it is today. Firebombing publishers, murdering filmmakers, issuing death threats against writers and cartoonists, suing researchers, restricting freedom of expression through the U.N. -- these are some of the ways militant Islamists, their enablers and apologists, are seeking to silence their critics.

Intimidation is another. It operates on campuses and within the Foreign Policy Establishment. A recent experience may be instructive.


Read More

Take my daughter’s hand…please!

We interrupt this global financial crisis for a news bulletin that is more important, at least to me: My daughter is getting married.

Longtime readers of my work -- and let me just say that counseling is available -- will recall me writing about Allison Henry over the years: How when she was born she opened one little eye and saw me for the first time, then closed it, thinking perhaps there had been some mistake.


Read More