Monthly Archives: September 2008

Pressure works

Quote of the Day:
:::”The mystery of government is not how Washington works, but how to make it stop.”
:::– P. J. O’Rourke, Source: Parliament of Whores, 1991
::: http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/P..J..O’Rourke.Quote.62F0
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:::Subject: Pressure works!
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:::Americans subjected Congress to relentless, overwhelming, resistance numbing pressure. Congress caved. 95 Democrats and 133 Republicans voted to defeat the Big Bailout.
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:::The Downsize DC strategic vision is now conclusively demonstrated. Members of Congress had many, huge incentives to pass the bailout. But public pressure overwhelmed those incentives.

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Possible vote today on Big Bailout

Quotes of the Day:

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“These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”
:::– Representative Barney Frank, 2003
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HT: Radley Balko at Reason
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Subject: Possible vote today on the Big Bailout

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A deal has been struck. Whether House Republicans will vote for this latest (final?) version of the Big Bailout remains in doubt, but chances are that they will. Nevertheless, it’s up to us to fight to the end, and to give our elected representatives cause for doubt, nervousness, and perhaps fear.

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Messages to Congress as high as 300 to 1 against the bailout

Quote of the Day:

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“Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few.”
:::– Alexander Pope

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Subject: Messages to Congress running as high as 300 to 1 against the bailout

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First the Republicans were for it (the Big Bailout), and then they were against it. What happened?

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What happened is YOU, and others like you, pounding on Congress to NOT pass the Big Bailout.

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This would be simpler than a bailout

Quote of the Day:
:::“At this point, Congress is being asked to support an uncertain entity, costing an uncertain amount of dollars, for an uncertain duration – a decision that will have implications for generations to come and requires absolute certainty.”
:::– Congressman Jeb Hensarling, TX, and Chair of the House Republican Study Committee

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Subject: This would be simpler than a bailout

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A few simple words in an arcane regulation may be a major cause of the current financial “crisis.” Removing this regulation would be simpler and cheaper than the proposed bailout.
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:::Financial Accounting Standard 157 is a regulation imposed on businesses by the quasi-private Financial Accounting Standards Board (FAS). This rule is also incorporated into the regulations of the IRS and is further enforced by the SEC and the FDIC. FAS 157 requires businesses to mark down assets to the lowest price for which similar assets have been sold in the market.

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The jargon term for this regulation is “mark-to-market.” Mark-to-market forces good securities to be valued at the same price as bad securities.

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Downsize DC commits suicide

Jim Babka will be speaking in Connecticut this weekend. Details below the signature.

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Quote of the Day:
:::”The government broke it. I don’t trust them to fix it.”
:::– Senator Jim DeMint, Republican, South Carolina

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Subject: Downsize DC commits suicide

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We’ve heard the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve Chairman make their case for a $700 billion bailout of the financial markets. We’re not persuaded. Quite the contrary. We reject their predictions of dire consequences if their plan doesn’t pass. We’re so convinced of this that we’re willing to stake our continued existence on it.

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If the economy goes into a deep slump because they didn’t pass their bailout plan then charitable contributions will be among the first things cut from family budgets. If we’re wrong then we’ll be among the many institutions to fail. But we don’t believe we’re wrong. And we don’t believe we’ll fail.

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Can we downsize the Big Bailout?

Quote of the Day:
:::”It’s a rather brief bill, with lots of money.”
:::– Senator Chris Dodd

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Subject: Can we downsize the Big Bailout?

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Today’s message is a complex one. It’s pretty clear to us that few politicians understand the financial crisis before us — particularly their role in creating it. But I have confidence in the ability of DC Downsizers to understand what we write here.

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So what about Treasury Secretary Paulson’s Big Bailout Plan . . .

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Here’s some “good” news: The legislation authorizing the Big Bailout of U.S. financial institutions in only 3 pages long. This means that every member of Congress is likely to read it, even though the “Read the Bills Act” isn’t yet the law of the land.

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Here’s some really bad news:

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Doing more with less: new slicing method cuts cost of germanium solar cells by 10%

Solar cells made from germanium are far more efficient than cells made from silicon. But germanium costs a lot more — about $90 for every four inch wafer. Now, scientists at the University of Utah have devised a new method that could cut this cost by 10%. So far germanium cells are primarily used for high-tech purposes such as satellites, but this new method, perhaps combined with other efficiencies, such as concentrators, could make germanium viable for other purposes while also cutting the cost of satellite construction.

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Republican platform seeks to ban identical twins

Human clones already walk among us. You may even have a pair in your family. We may not think of identical twins as clones, but that’s exactly what they are. Here’s how Wikipedia describes it, “Monozygotic twins, frequently referred to as identical twins, occur when a single egg is fertilized to form one zygote (monozygotic) which then divides into two separate embryos.” The resulting twins are essentially clones of each other.
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:::Natural clones/twins have virtually identical DNA, just as artificially created clones/twins would. It happens all the time, and the world doesn’t come to an end as a result. In addition, the resulting twins/clones end up leading different lives as natural mutations and environmental factors send the clones/twins on different life paths over-time. The same would happen with artificial clones. Clones/twins, are completely different persons who just happen to share nearly identical DNA.
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:::Do the writers of the Republican platform, the general public, and the opponents of cloning in Congress, understand this? It seems not. And yet, there is widespread support to ban cloning. The problem is that such a ban seems certain to also prohibit the cloning of tissues (as opposed to full human beings) that could be used for perfect organ transplants. Remember this if you happen to need such a transplant.
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:::This is the kind of problem we create when we allow the democratic process to decide issues that are beyond the competence of the general public and the politicians they elect. DOWNSIZE DC!

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Educate the Public

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

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“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”- Pericles

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SUBJECT: Educate the Powerful, Educate the Public

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With just a few extra mouse-clicks you can become more powerful. These few extra mouse-clicks will empower you to Educate the Public, and recruit more Downsizers, in much the same way that you now Educate the Powerful using our online system. I’ll tell you how to perform these few extra mouse-clicks below. This is important because . . .

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Americans are concerned about the direction of the country, but they’re also busy. Many people don’t think they have time to “get involved.” And they don’t believe they can make a difference anyway.

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That may have been true in the past,

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What can we say?

Quote of the Day:

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If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.
:::– attributed to Milton Friedman

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Subject: What can we say?

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The biggest story of the week is the meltdown in the stock market and among certain kinds of financial institutions. And yet, except for our action items on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout we’ve been largely silent on this issue. Why?

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