Update 2: video..PEBO Presser Q/A…PEBO selects Chicago School’s ‘CEO’ Arne Duncan to Cabinet..


PEBO Presser and announcement video from CNBC here

Barring the ‘pay the kids off’ idea which I hate, Arne seems very enthusiastic and grateful for the appointment and I am sure he will work hard. My question is in terms of his comments on equality through education, is he focusing there on a class issue? Which I surely agree with or does he mean educational reparations style funding which sounds like an endless series of challenges in every court in the land as well as leaving out dying suburbs in many cases……

If they address it as package socio-economic plan fine. If they target specific areas only based on the type of student population I disagree. I think the first method addresses the second goal.

ie-the method of funding the schools via property tax is problematic and my Supremes here in AZ said it is unconstitutional, however they haven’t figured out how else to fund it so it continues. THAT is the class issue I refer to, the funding in wealthy gated communities which already have magnificent facilities because the tax breaks our local govt gives the developers to build the community comes with mandated school building…

So on the West side of Phoenix they have no science books and in the gated Scottsdale developments they are overfunded( if you could ever have such a thing in schools), but comparatively speaking that is what it is. One school has incredible access to every conceivable tool of learning and exposure to the arts beyond many community colleges, and the other schools have 4th graders who cannot do long addition and no text books…

THAT is imo the inequality…but how do we fix it? Do we fund it on a federal tax level? but then you are potentially hampering states rights and local school boards, as with the money will come the conditions on what, how, when to teach..the age old debate…

Update 4: OMG Reporter asks does PEBO agree with Arnes policy to give 100 bucks to kids who get As, O..M…G…. say no say no! this is their JOB as kids to get good grades! (and it is for parents to chose how/if to reward their academic performance NOT the state IMO) How can you inculcate the value of hard work and good behavior being its own reward if the school is PAYING the students to get better grades? I call BS on that idea out of the gate.

A-Pragmatic, if pay for performance works…then we should explore that..if charter schools work try that..let’s not be clouded by ideology…(PEBO addressed pay for performance on the teacher level but avoided the student question)

Update 3: oh good Gawd, PEBO dispelling rumor says he did not pick Arne cause he’s best bball player, ha ha ha , enough of that!!

Q/A 1-fed reserve lowering to lowest in hx, how confident are you in Bernacke?

A-I dont think its good policy for PEBO or POTUS to question Fed, which is independent, but will say we are running out of traditional methods/tools, int rates about as low as we can go..it is critical other branches of govt step up, that is why econ recovery plan so important, meeting with econ team today to plan bold agenda to create 2.5 mill jobs and fund shovel ready projects, putting people back to work, energy efficient schools, restoring demand, governments all working together…we are going thru toughest time economically since Depression..it’s going to be tough, we have to work through structural difficulties built up over many decades, some having to do with financial industry, lack of regulation (oh Kudlow will LOVE that, lol!!!), housing market stabilizing that…critical for us to look at long term issues I discussed during campaign, healthcare, energy, finally education is important to this…what we do for short term emergency action important…but if we pursue kind of strategy Arne pursued…making no excuses, expecting high achievement from every child, if we can change culture so we are once again valuing intellectual achievement, if we all pull together, making schools better, this will determine how our economy does better…..

Q2 Do you favor or oppose special election to fill your seat? 2, Rahm talk..PEBO cuts him off, as I indicated yesterday…full review done…facts next week….(yada yada) do you have another question?

Q-Is there a conflict b/w what you said would be a hands off approach? PEBO-John I said Im not answering that.

John-what about special election? PEBO-Let state legislature handle it

oh good gawd, John the reporter finished that back n forth with a bball question to make nice!!


Update 2: Arne says no issue is more pressing than education. Arne just said Education is the Civil Rights issue of our generation and the one sure path to a more equal fair and just society.. He seems to feel the deep honor he professes in his heart which is always nice!! Arne says he grew up on the South Side of Chicago under his mother’s tutoring program. DING DING Basketball just got in there :0)

Arne says focusing on basics like reading and math, innovative new approaches, and a professional environment, you can build better schools and attract better teaching talent. (‘best and brightest’ in there again, no one remembers it was originally an insult to Nixon, lol)

They are at a school Arne closed down, restaffed, rebuilt and reopened now, he is thanking his family, very sweet. PEBO is smiling widely and seems genuinely happy I think this is one appointment he wasn’t pressured into making..

PEBO said Arne has lowered dropout rates every year, and improved testing rate by more than 1/3rd on Elementary school assessment tests…

UPDATE:  Tuesday, 11:32am EST: PEBO presser to announce Duncan in 12 minutes, covered LIVE on CNBC when it begins. I am hoping we get some idea of how PEBO plans to address NCLB funding, and the horrendous dropout rates, as well as some possible details of how the planned 1 trillion, (yep that’s the new whisper number) infrastructure buildout in regard to our schools…..


December 15, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cabinet, Department of Education, Economy, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, TARP, Wall St. 3 comments.

PEBO Presser & Market Wrap

Update: PEBO now speaking LIVE in presser and energy announcements. Look for Q/A on Blago and Big 3..

PEBO confirming Lisa Jackson for EPA, she has received strong criticism on her tenure in the role in NJ..

Dr Chu just quoted William Faulkner on the endurance of man and man’s ability to prevail, very nice..

Oh dear Lisa Jackson just referenced environmental justice..if she cleans up Superfund sites that would be great..ENFORCE the law dudes..I don’t agree with Gov Corzine’s privatizing of clean up contracts to companies that did the polluting as referenced in the Politico piece on Jackson above…

this group on the stage certainly has a LOT to live up to on Energy…perhaps the ‘sunlight’ glare of the Green community on their actions and their promises will get more meaningful stewardship from Jackson than she exhibited in her role in NJ…get it, huh? sunlight, yuk yuk yuk..

Obama 2008

DOW closed down 65 to 8564; NAS down 32 to 1508 and S&P down 11 to 868..

POTUS arrived back in D.C., perhaps we will have word about the auto bridge loan..

Tomorrow look for the FED statement that accompanies the widely expected .50 bp rate cut to be parsed to death..

What ‘new’ news can it bring at this point?,

‘yes Virginia there is a recession..every good indicator is down in every FED region and every bad indicator is rising in every region. We suggest bold action..more on that to come..but trust us, we’re economists we know what we’re doing!’

(h/t Richard Benjamin in ‘Love at First Bite’-‘Trust me, I’m a doctor I know what I’m doing!”)

hilarity with no sense of PC-ness whatsoever, that was a great spoof film- Dracula’s castle was nationalized by the Communists and he relocates to NYC..it hit every stereotype known to man (and woman)



December 15, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cabinet, Economy, Entertainment, Fantasy, Film, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. Comments off.

Holiday Hits: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – John Cougar (Mellencamp)


December 15, 2008. Tags: , . Entertainment, Music, Popular Culture. Comments off.

Holiday Shopping: True Blood…ANGEL…Stargate SG-1…BSG…

Boxed set Sookie Stackhouse: Southern Vampire Novels (True Blood) available from Amazon

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Perfect Holiday Gift for the True Blood fan!

And ANGEL Seasons 1-5  DVD Boxed Set for David Boreanaz Angel style fans..


And for the Sci Fi fans you are not forgotten:


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And a special  package deal on BSG:

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BSG Set Seasons 1-3.5 plus Razor

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December 15, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Battlestar Galactica, BSG, Caprica, Charlaine Harris, Entertainment, Fantasy, Popular Culture, Sci Fi, True Blood. Comments off.

Monday Morning Market Roundup: FED begins 2 day meeting on rates…next stop, Less Than Zero??..Jamie Dimon on 2009 and Housing…WH on Big 3…

Markets opened mixed, have all turned negative.  DOW down 77 to 8552; NAS down 33 to 1507 and S&P down 11 to 870, the 10 yr is at 2.54% WOW!!

As the Federal Reserve begins a two day meeting expected to culminate in a rate cut of 50 bp tomorrow, consider recent comments by various former Fed Governors alluding to our ability to operate in an effective negative interest rate environment. Once they go to zero some think they are out of bullets. Less Than Zero…sooner or later we will pay the piper in inflation…

From the WSJ:

…The market expects the Fed to cut its key lending rate to 0.50%. But, more important, investors want to know whether there “are more aggressive quantitative moves soon to come, or are they further down the road,” said Rick Klingman, managing director of Treasury trading at BNP Paribas in New York.

The Fed is scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday, with its interest-rate decision coming Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. EST.

Aware that its scope to cut interest rates is limited, the Fed already has tiptoed into the arena of quantitative easing, essentially printing money and using the cash to fund lending…

The EU nations are already making noises about ceasing interest rate cuts, remember their mandate is solely to manage against inflation. Our FED does full employment AND inflation, and frankly I have always found that to be a conflict, since economists feel full employment leads to …yes inflation…

On the auto bailout news,  the White House is behaving rather strangely, floating various rumors. Fox reports Bush says, no bailout deal anytime soon, which would IMHO be deadly for the markets. Then we had a report on CNBC saying the bailout could be as high as 40 billion, which is more than double the amount that failed in the Senate. No one knows where it is coming from. We only have 15 billion left in TARP tranche one. A Treasury/Fed combo loan/guarantee program was the assumption the talking heads are making.

Perhaps the reason the WH is playing coy is b/c they are trying to get Congress to be more amenable to accessing TARP tranche deux (I don’t think POTUS’ trip to Afghanistahn would preclude Paulson from putting a package together) ..I don’t know but I do know if they don’t come out with a definitive plan very soon, the markets will begin to respond negatively…

Via Fox:  The administration, following the legislative defeat, said it was considering several options, including using money from the $700 billion financial bailout fund to provide loans to the carmakers. Bush reiterated Monday that tapping the financial bailout fund remains an option. ..

Via CNBC: U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday an announcement on a auto industry rescue was not imminent, leaving the industry’s fate clouded in uncertainty for a little longer..”We’re not quite ready to announce that yet,” Bush told reporters on Air Force One during a flight from Baghdad on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

Updated POTUS report: 11:25am EST: GOOD NEWS! Phil LeBeau on the Auto Beat reports POTUS said on AirForce One:

“This will not be a long process because of the economic, the fragility of the auto industry”

The US Dollar is continuing to drop, and no one can agree where it is headed next, I say Rick Santelli has it right and it has topped, we shall see:

The dollar fell to an eight-week low against the euro and dropped versus the yen on speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates and the U.S. will bail out General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

The greenback approached a 13-year low against the Japanese currency after U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday he may use funds meant to shore up banks to keep the automakers out of bankruptcy. The Fed is forecast by economists to cut its benchmark rate tomorrow.

“There is dollar weakness in anticipation of this week’s meeting, where it’s widely expected that the Fed will cut the benchmark rate,” said Lee Hardman, a London-based foreign- exchange strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi…..

Anywho, markets expect 50 bp and for the first time I can recall the markets don’t really seem to care what the FED does.  Sentiment is just that negative.

You wouldn’t know that based on the parade of talking heads who seem to be tasked with ‘talking up’ 2009. I will stick with what Jamie Dimon (JPM Chase CEO) told Erin Burnett on December 11th. Remember, only Jamie got it right on the housing meltdown. One of the comments he made was that he expects housing values to drop another 20%-OUCH!:

Video here and here and here


December 15, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Big 3, Cabinet, CITI, Economy, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Simon Pegg, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 3 comments.

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