Thursday, October 30, 2008

"I am Oz the Um, Great and Uh...Powerful..."

How many of the citizens of Oz wanted to lynch Dorothy when she pulled down the curtain and exposed the Wizard?

Let's face it, the illusion had been working pretty well.

Here in Alaska Palin the Great and Powerful had the people praising her and the Legislature on a leash. Likewise, Uncle Ted, the Wizard of Washington, conjured up golden earmarks for the grateful peasants.

These days there is a definite mood of Dorothy hatred wafting through the state.

Did we really want to know about the governor's efforts to sell herself nationally using an east coast PR firm, paid for by the state? Or that she has charged Alaska a daily fee to work from home? Or that she charged the state to fly her kids around with her to events and put them up in hotels so they could act in "official capacity" such as drawing a raffle ticket, and sometimes just popping up with kids in tow, like that friend who obliviously shows up at an adult party with her children: "Hi! What do you have for the kids to do?"

No. Nobody really wants to know about that stuff, and its embarrassing that the whole world knows, too. Its hard to not resent the McCain campaign for luring her out into the spotlight.
On the other hand truth is good. A big wave is going to roll through Alaska politics, and we will see which boats stay afloat.

Uncle Ted's troubles amount to a second wave of change. He has pointed an angry finger his prosecutorial Dorothys for their bumbling, and some foolish minor obfuscation. But even if you judge the case by what uncle Ted himself admitted on the witness stand, well, let's face it, he accepted gifts and merchandise and did not write them down on the form. Case closed.

Even if reelected he will return to the US Senate nicked as no Senator before him, to a Democratic controlled Congress and a fractured Republican minority that has largely turned its back to him.

Hopefully the majority of the electorate will see the wisdom of sending Begich in. The old quarterback has had his day, and taken too many hits lately.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good News! The Rest of the World is Even More Screwed Up Than Us!

Dollar Steers World Economy into Telephone Pole--
But Is Only One Wearing Seat Belt
Don't start converting to euros yet.
In an ironic twist to the global financial crisis it looks like the the good old greenback is back on top. We got the world hooked on bindles of high risk head rush real estate derivatives. But now that the inevitable telephone pole of reality has jumped in front of the car we have our financial Betty Ford Clinics already built. The rest of the world does not.
We've been there before. FDR and friends had to nurse the financial system back after it had gotten way too high and crashed hard in 1929. The first couple of tough love years that followed saw a third of Americans lose the money in their bank accounts and a 25% unemployment rate. Like today's Europe and Asia they had no net. The FDIC and other "socialist" institutions FDR built to dry out a wasted economy are still in place, thankfully. But the rules that hold the European Union together specifically restrict the kind of emergency "injections" we are giving our junkie banks right now. Their Ad Hoc solutions directly challenge the system which is the basis of their currency. And Asian markets are still learning how to drive the capitalism car out of a ditch. Once again everyone wants dollars.
So we are saved by our own schizophrenia. We tossed out all the rules so we could snort up all the subprime mortgages we wanted, but we never moved out of Mom's house, so she can clean us up and put us back on our feet now that we smashed up the family car. But where does that leave us? Do we go right back on a bender as soon as our strength returns, or stay safe in Mommy's arms?
Greenspan the freemarketeer is humbled now. It turns out you do need some rules after all. And Galbraith the "socialist" is correct to point out that our system of "wealth distribution" is the net that will save us from 1930 happening all over again. But let's hope the bailout doesn't turn us into a lockdown economy, with federal intervention at every step. And let's hope we learned, along with Greenie, that even a free market needs some rules.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Details of the Halibut Split

Charter Gets Capped and Triggered
Here is the link to the NPFMC Newsletter explaining the new caps on charter halibut catches in areas 2C and 3A.
Scuttlebutt says it will be challenged in court.