Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hey Bristol, where's your baby?

When Bristol Palin's impending glorious event was revealed, her due date was estimated to be December 18-23. Ever since the Repub Natl Convention, she has pretty much been out of sight.

Amid all the controversy surrounding her teen pregnancy, I submit the following Top Ten Reasons Why Bristol's Baby is Purposefully Delaying His World Debut:

10. To give his daddy Levi Johnston time to earn more money working on the North Slope. Levi dropped out of high school in his senior year to earn some baby-having dough. Might as well let him earn the price of his forfeited high school diploma, too.

9. Before he knew he'd be a daddy, the non-condom-using Levi said he "didn't want babies", so why not gestate a little longer? A more fully mature infant might bypass the "baby" stage. Afterall, they grow up pretty fast in Wasilla. You bet'cha!

8. To give his mama Bristol a hard time. The baby's birth in December was supposed to clear her of any suspicion of secretly being Trig's mom. If the birth is in January/February, that issue will remain unresolved. *wink*

7. To make his birthday coincide with Bristol and Levi's wedding date, set for March 2009. Over the long run, combo celebrations will be much less expensive for his teen parents.

6. Grandmothers -- both of them! From what the fetus has overheard, they are both going to be lousy grandmas. Drugs versus aerial animal kills ... which is worse for the unblemished baby's soul?

5. He does not relish being born in the middle of an alaskan ice blizzard to a 17-yr old mom, 18-yr old dad, high school drop-out parents. What's the hurry? Talk about a Bridge to Nowhere!

4. The womb looks much safer than a collapsing world. He's in no hurry to confront global warming (climate change), species decline, economic disaster, and an earth where the Taliban and Darfur and Robert Mugabe are standard operating procedure.

3. To give Uncle Joe, the tax-cheating unlicensed plumber, a chance to earn some money selling his memoir book so he can pay his tax liens and buy the business license that is preventing him from testing Obama's tax plan. Did you get one for xmas, or have you ordered yours yet? Joe wants to contribute to Bristol's baby's college fund!

2. The thought that dead moose and elk antlers will form his crib.

1. John McCain will be his Godfather?!? 'Nuff Said!

Oh heck, Bristol is probably in the midst of giving birth as I post this. Hope it's an easy labor for her. She's got enough trouble ahead of her as it is. Gotta find an odd name for him, too. Maybe ... Pelt?

ps, feel free to add your own reasons or name choices. I'll leave this open until the baby appears! I mean, it's has to be any day now, right? So, she's 10-days overdue. No one would purposefully lie about the due date, would they? hmmm...

oh, pooh, see update in comments 12.29.08: tonight, Rachel Maddow reported Bristol had baby TRIPP yesterday. Tripp (7-lbs, 4-oz) and Bristol are reportedly doing well. No mention of Levi. The news is confirmed by People Magazine and the Anchorage Daily News, both stating the baby was born Sunday, but further news won't be released until Tuesday. So I guess she really WAS in labor when I posted this!

Friday, December 26, 2008


The last week of the year sometimes seems haunted.

Here is a very sweet Sinead O'Connor and bad boy Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, in 1995, before Shane went off the deep end, 4-mins:

I still love The Pogues. Click here for Waltzing Mathilda (8-minutes), a favorite ballad. Be sure to read the narrative in the "more info" section on the right. Shane has a gift for trainwreck delivery of haunting words. Around Christmas, you can't escape Fairytale of New York (Shane singing with Kirsty MacColl about a relationship gone bad; RIP Kirsty). note: that link is to a clean music vid because I was tired of seeing so many commenters fixating on Shane's downhill slide. As one of my grandpas would say, his troubles are his own.

The Pogues' Thousands are Sailing (5.5 minutes) is a story familiar to many of you with irish ancestors. One of mine, whose transport ship from Liverpool was refused landing in New York, came in through Canada, eventually making his way across that country before dropping down into the western U.S. Without reliable records, I rely on family tales of a man whose inner toughness and physical hardiness enabled him to survive almost unimaginable conditions. By the time their ship was finally allowed to dock in Canada, the "human cargo" was mostly dead or dying. He was so weak that he supposedly had to be carried off the ship, but insisted on being put down to walk the final step ashore on his own two feet. He promptly keeled over and landed face down in the dirt. The family story is that he bit into the soil, pushing a handful into his mouth, and declaring that american soil was "sweet but a bit dry" ... this was a plea for a drink ... whether water or alcohol is unclear ...

List of Failed Banks

News you can use (but hope you don't have to):

FDIC's official list of Failed Banks.

If anyone knows how to find out when a bank begins to experience large withdrawals (because insiders always know what is happening, they get their money out BEFORE a bank fails), this might be an important clue that a bank is about to fail. So far, the failed banks I've done business with have both been taken over by larger banks, so FDIC insurance was not a factor, but the day is coming, folks. The increased FDIC-coverage (part of TARP) expires next year, so CDs that mature beyond then, are not covered. With the Fed rate effectively lowered to 0%, the next batch of treasuries may yield less than the purchase price. Treasuries are considered a "safe place" to park your money. Methinks a cheney-man-size safe might be a better investment.

Scary times, hunh?

kind of like watching a patient slowly bleed to death...

and aren't you glad that I waited until after xmas for that image?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Final Christmas Santa, laughs and good cheer to all

My final christmas laugh is from Cheech and Chong, 6.5 minutes:

"Recession, repression, it's all the same thing."

May you all have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas filled with love and good cheer! Hug everyone you care about (and even a few you could do without) and give special treats to all your beloved pets!

I have especially enjoyed the wonderful beautiful people I have met through the blogs ... I promise, I will be back blogging on the other side of this holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santaland Diaries

If you're looking for something hilariously irreverent to do this time of year, I hope the stage play of "Santaland Diaries" by David Sedaris is being performed in your area.

If you can't attend a live play, you can read the comic essay in David Sedaris' "Barrel Fever" and also "Holidays on Ice" books.

Santaland Diaries is the story of Crumpet the Elf. It meshes Christmas capitalism and woes of unglamorous work strife as it tells the true tale of Sedaris’ employment as a santa elf in the Santaland display at Macy’s in New York City. It’s a world that places him amongst a cast of out-of-work actor coworkers, schizophrenic Santas and a varied waiting line of obnoxious children and parents. Among those who like a non-traditional seasonal tale, Santaland Diaries has become as much of a holiday tradition as A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life.

To listen to Mr Sedaris read a 7-minute excerpt on NPR in Windows Media: click here

Or, if you prefer Real Media: click here

Or, here is a 1-minute youtube teaser:

It has become a family tradition in my house to read Santaland Diaries aloud every christmas. This christmas may be especially poignant as so many people find themselves out of work and considering temporary christmas employment as a stop-gap measure to stave off the wolves at the door. Might as well go to the poor house laughing!

Another annual D.K. xmas tradition is to watch "Bad Santa". This hilarious Coen Brothers gem lives up to their skewed worldview. Billy Bob Thornton as Santa is your first clue this is not a normal xmas movie. His Santa is a bad-tempered washed-up alcoholic criminal who seems beyond redemption until he meets a very sad little boy. It was also John Ritter's last movie appearance. I believe he died as it was being filmed, and rather than try to rework his part, his odd character just disappeared. Only later do you realize, hey what happened to John Ritter? The x-rated DVD version is Badder Santa.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Snow

In case anyone is wondering WHY I keep posting snow photos, it's because snow is pretty rare down here. Most winters, although we see snow in the higher elevation mountains around us, we only get snow in town a few times, and it melts as soon as the sun comes out, usually that same day or next day. This is the first time I've seen snow stay on the ground for this many days in a row. Does that mean we are in for a rough winter? Hope not.

We got dusted with another 3 - 4" overnight, so here's what I woke up to this morning.

At the far end of our backyard is a rough stone waterfall and pond which might be visible if it wasn't all snowed in and frozen over.

People have asked us why we don't keep Koi Fish in the pond. I cannot imagine subjecting them to this in the winter, followed by baking hot 110-115 degrees all summer. Besides, the pond is pretty small, just big enough for me to worry that Clyde might fall in if he slips in this snow. {click to enlarge any photo}

The sun finally came out late today which made for a nice walk.

Here's Clyde's and my snow outfits. I probably overdid it with my big double-thick Eddie Bauer stadium coat, but if I don't wear it now, when will I ever?

Why does Clyde look so unhappy? Because he hates wearing clothes! For half of the walk, he shakes his head around trying to fling them off. Eventually he gives up and resigns himself to being humilated for the balance of the walk.

According to blogger count, this is my 150th post! I never thought I'd make it this far. But it is really Enigma of Watergate Summer who deserves many thanks for setting up this blog in the first place. She even named it! She must've thought I had something to say ....

So, for Enigma and anyone else who sees a resemblance between Geo W Bush and Richard Nixon, and is glad one is already gone and the other leaving soon, here is a vintage, but very timely, Phil Ochs singing "The Land you've Torn out the Heart of" ...

Click here if you want to know more about Phil Ochs.
For a real heartbreaker, listen to his When I'm Gone.
Joan Baez' cover of There But for Fortune is probably the biggest commercial success of a Phil Ochs song. If you search YouTube, you'll be amazed at his body of work and how many people have covered his music over the years.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow on the Mountains

With temps expected to reach 40 today (wooo-hooo, a day above the 30's), the clouds lifted enough to get a few pics of the view from my backyard. More snow is expected tonight, temps dropping to 25. No sun, the sky is white.

Here is what the little red hills in back of us looked like yesterday. Because of the snow cloud cover, you wouldn't know there was a 10,000-ft tall mountain directly in back of them:

Here's how it looks today (see I told you there was a huge mountain in back of those little red hills). This is Pine Valley Mountain. The highest point is Signal Peak Summit (10,365-ft):

Pine Valley Mountain is a large rock outcrop surrounded by desert. It is part of the Pine Valley Laccolith, one of the largest laccoliths in the United States. Since Pine Valley Mountain is isolated from other mountain ranges, it is an interesting geological anomaly.

Here are some snowy Las Vegas palm trees :

Hey, if this snow keeps up,

maybe we can build a snowcat!

(with catnip whiskers)


Monday, December 15, 2008



No, not Emiliano Zapata (at least not in this case, though I think Zapata and his Army of Liberation would approve of this shoe revolution).

Zapatos are Shoes, as anyone who has taken a first-year Spanish course can tell you. (P: Donde estan mis zapatos? R: Los zapatos estan a sus pies.)

Hundreds of Iraqis joined in anti-US demonstrations to protest at Bush's farewell visit to Iraq on Sunday. In the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion, Iraq was plunged into a deadly insurgency and near civil war.
Throwing shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever ... it expresses hatred of all things Bush. It was the least thing for an Iraqi to do to Bush, an unrepentent war criminal who has killed two million people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I have a feeling Bush has not seen the last of shoe throwing.
To learn more ...

NYT writes of the Shoe-Hurling Hero:
"Calling someone the 'son of a shoe' is one of the worst insults in Iraq. But the lowly shoe and the Iraqi who threw both of his at President Bush, with widely admired aim, were embraced around the Arab world on Monday as symbols of rage at a still unpopular war." The article says he is being hailed as a hero and may receive some kind of Medal of Courage.

Or read The Rude Pundit:
"Someone should be there every day of Bush's life to throw shoes at him. Hell, someone should market a fuckin' game that includes a Bush face mounted with velcro with tiny shoes that'll stick to his puss." He also says he is mailing old shoes to Bush today with a note inside, "this is a farewell kiss from the American people, you dog" ... He visualizes "giant sacks of shoes heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500"... just in time for Xmas!

Snow Wimp

Yes it's true. I am a snow wimp. To me, this looks like a lot of snow! Temps dropped to 22 overnight. The high for today is predicted to be 33. At least the wind has died down. Glad I am not driving anywhere.

Here is the scene from my courtyard (front porch to you easterners). I think snow looks prettiest with red rocks poking up through it:

Palm Trees look out of place when dusted with snow ... like something is wrong with the universe.

This is about as White Christmasy as we will get.

I hope.

Too many years of California sunshine has turned me into a snow wimp.


Clyde is worried about his daily walk. Very worried. There are still many neighborhood inflatable santas and reindeer that need to be peed on. Here he is standing under a protective deck cover considering his dwindling options of where he might pee and not get any of that floating white stuff in his eyes. Maybe if he is very quick about his business, the redhead will let him back into the warm house. She's pretty strict about outdoor bathroom facilities for dogs, although she promised to truss him into his fleece coat for the walk. Clyde is not sure which is worse, snow or wearing that coat, but it is better to stay on her good side because it is freezing ass cold out here!


We just heard Andrea Mitchell telling us that the shoe incident yesterday (see post below) is being celebrated in Iraq today. Citizens are marching through the streets of Baghdad with shoes on poles. I bet they have signs, too, but she declined to show us any photos. She interpreted the shoe incident as Iraq saying to Bush, you are worth less than the dirt beneath our shoes. I just hope Blackwater can keep their guns in their pockets. Does anyone remember how our own revolution started? The shoe heard 'round the world!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Early Holiday Gift

In some countries, the children leave their shoes outside the front door so Santa can fill them with goodies.

In other countries, the shoes themselves are the holiday gift.

Instead of spending this weekend working on his ideas for an auto industry loan, like he promised would be done this weekend in order to have something concrete to present on Monday, President Bush staged a surprise visit to Iraq.

Surprise, surprise! Santa doesn't like it when promises are broken. He knows when you've been bad or good, and when you've been very bad, beyond lump-of-coal bad, he arranges for one of his elves to throw shoes at you.

"This is a goodbye kiss, you dog!" said the shoe-throwing journalist. The shoe heard 'round the world!

For the background story with short video and slide show, click here (Huffington Post).

For the full C-Span coverage, all 38-minutes, Click here.
FFWD to Minute 17 to watch the shoes fly. C-Span cameras caught a different perspective. You can see blood on the carpet and hear the reporter screaming as he is drug away. I don't know why all the reporters are shhhushing. I couldn't see where Dana Perino was in order to get injured. Keep watching for Bush's press conference afterwards. The reporter's screams can still be heard coming from outside the room. You can skip everything after the presser ends.

ps, nice dodge, mr bush. nimbleness may become an important skill in your future. today it's shoes, tomorrow maybe subpoenas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is a David Sedaris audio essay about St Nick. He is not exactly the Jolly Old Saint Nicholas we enjoy in the United States. Our St Nick is an obese compulsive cookie and milk eater who falls down your chimney with wrapped presents to disburse under a dying decorated fire hazard tree. The decidedly unique St Nick of The Netherlands, who travels with 6 to 8 black men, is known to mete out harsher punishment than a lump of coal to naughty children. The scenes in this 6-minute version seem to be from the annual St Nicholas Parade in Amsterdam (warning, there are no similar parades in the US):

That was a truncated somewhat sanitized version of the fuller-bodied hilarious Sedaris story which you can read by clicking on: "Six to Eight Black Men". One of Sedaris' many non-writing jobs was as a Macy's Elf which may explain why he was personally insulted to learn that Saint Nicholas would consider elves to be silly and unrealistic (more about that in a future post).

David Sedaris' offbeat observations about Christmas celebrations meshes perfectly with my less than Christmasy feelings this year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

50 of the 533,000

533,000 U.S. jobs were lost in November. This is the story of 50 of those jobs...

Employees Shocked to See Famous Dave's Closed November 23rd:

The local Famous Dave's Legendary Pit BBQ restaurant closed its doors Sunday, with management citing sluggish sales figures. The news came as a shock to restaurant employees when they arrived Sunday to begin their work shifts. None of the employees were notified of the impending close, including those working the late shift Saturday night. After the Saturday night shift ended, moving trailers arrived to remove the interior furnishings and equipment.

"I came into work as usual, but everything was getting packed up and moved onto trailers," said Dan B, a former server at the restaurant. "Nobody knew what was going on. They could have at least told us." Dan's fiancee, Ashlee, who waited tables at the restaurant, said she was devastated to see her job vanish overnight. "I would've appreciated any type of notice," she said, "in order to have time to find another job". Dan and Ashlee now face the grim reality of unemployment as they struggle to provide for their 3 children in the midst of a nationwide economic crisis.

Scott Morton, the area director for Famous Dave's franchise locations in Utah, said he was notified last Friday of the decision to close this location by the parent company, William Tell, Inc. He said the employees were not given prior notice in order to prevent them from skipping the last few days of work and/or from stealing valuable items during the final days.

Some employees, including Dan, were offered compensation for Sunday if they helped load the moving trucks. "Some work is better than no work," Dan said of his decision to spend the day hollowing out the contents of his former employer.

Famous Dave's is a franchise operation. While the local restaurant originally employed 100 people when it opened here in 2004, it had reduced employees down to 50 over the last year as revenue dropped due to poor sales. Famous Dave's has over 100 franchise locations in 40 states. The local Famous Dave's is part of the William Tell Inc regional group of franchises, which includes Applebee's Restaurants. The owner/president of William Tell Inc is John Prince who has, to date, expressed no regret over the way the employees were treated.


DK's remarks: The people who live in my isolated smallish town are generally courteous and quite mannerly. Rudeness is not normal behavior. That's why I find this story particularly egregious. It was like an early bird combo Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas eff-yew to Famous Dave's local employees and their families! I can't help but wonder if the woman with the carload of kids who withdrew her last $2 from the bank just prior to Thanksgiving was one of their employees (see post below).

If the store manager or franchise management were so afraid of employee theft, why not just have laid them off Friday morning and given them 3-days pay (Fri-Sat-Sun) while they moved out? It's not like they were making any money by having them work those days. From what I understand, the local Famous Dave's was losing money every day it stayed open. I bet it would've cost them less to pay those employees for 3-days of hourly wages than it did to keep the doors open and attempt to sneak out in the middle of the night.

It is quite a personal slap in the face for employees to show up for their work shift and find that their job is no longer there. It's also a slap in the community's face to brazenly betray so many workers and leave them with nothing. They will now have to start from scratch in a tough job market. I understand the labor laws here did not require any notice to hourly workers, but what about the employer's personal code of conduct or sense of fair play?

Yes, the employees will be able to claim unemployment compensation, but that is cold comfort when what they really need are jobs. No doubt some of them will end up enlisting in the military as an employer of last resort. Ashlee and her 3 kids may reside in some ramshackle base housing unit while Dan goes abroad to explain democracy to Afghanistan or Pakistan!

I will no longer be eating at any Famous Dave's. I'm also boycotting Applebee's since they are part of the William Tell regional group of franchises that owns Famous Dave's. In fact, the other night we ate at a locally owned restaurant, Scaldoni's. The prices were higher than a franchise, but it was worth the splurge for our anniversary (33-yrs!). Besides, I was happy to realize that the money spent in a local business stays here, rather going to line the pockets of a slimeball like John Prince.

To paraphrase an old TV series, "There are 533,000 stories in The Naked City, and this has been 50 of them"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The tranche trance, and other thoughts today

TRANCHE (of french derivation, so swallow the "n" & say something like "twrawhsh"): I first heard it from Secretary Paulson, then Congress, next the Obama economic team, and now even TV newsreaders are using it to spice up their repertoire. It sounded so exotic, I figured I should look up how it pertains to treasury matters ...

Tranche: Certain securities, such as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), are made up of a number of classes, called tranches, that differ from each other because they pay different interest rates, mature on different dates, carry different levels of risk, or differ in some other way. When the security is offered for sale, each of these tranches is sold separately.

Wow, I feel so tranchy now (remember to swallow the "n")!

Other Thoughts Today ... A, A, B, B, B and V ...

A = Auto Industry: The Big Three upped their "bridge loan" request to $34 Billion today. It was $25 Billion last week before Congress asked them to submit a business plan. Well, preparation of business plans cost a lot ... $9 Billion in this case.

A = Auto Workers: The UAW says the Big 3 CEOs can agree to work for $1/yr and every union worker could agree to work for free, and it still won't save the american auto industry! This really floored me because it's pretty much an admission, by the guys representing the 3 million workers who are facing unemployment, that the Big 3 are going down no matter how much we throw at them. I hate to agree that Mitt Romney may have a point that perhaps the best solution for them is to reorganize under bankruptcy. Tough Love!

B = Bush (remember him?): Listening to "W" try to weasel his way out of analyzing his failures is such fun. Analysis would require introspection and we all know he doesn't do "do-overs"! So, he thinks the big failure of the Iraq War was that he fed himself bad intelligence?!? Cooked intelligence must taste like depleted uranium. He reminds me of Frank Sinatra singing, "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention".

B = Bill Richardson was formally named as Secretary of Commerce today. This cabinet post is ready for some vast expansion due to Obama's sweeping economic plan for job creation. If Congress confirms Richardson, it puts him in the cabinet and ready to move into another cabinet slot should things not work out with anyone already there (like Hillary or Gates). It's no secret he was very interested in Secretary of State. I congratulate him for not pitching a fit and for being ready to help wherever needed. I, too, liked Richardson's beard and was sorry to see it removed. So sue me.

B = Bank Story (a sad little story of how bad things are): I had banking business that had to be conducted INSIDE the bank last week. While sitting at the bank officer's desk, waiting and waiting for them to process my request, I notice that from my position, I can hear every conversation that the drive-up teller has with a drive-up customer. I hear a woman asking the teller to check the available balance in her account. The teller says "$2.48". I can hear a carload of kids screaming in the background. The woman then says, "how much can I withdraw and still keep the account open?" ... the teller says "$2.00" ... the woman is silent for a few moments (kids still screaming in background). The woman then sighs and says, "OK, then can I please get $2.00 cash now?" ... the teller processes her request and the woman & carload of kids drives away. This was right before Thanksgiving.

V (click to read) ... "What would happen to the Chevy Volt if GM failed?" ... The Chevy Volt is supposed to be available in 2010. It has been promoted as a revolutionary break-through in plug-in electric cars. This was all announced well before such technology was available for production at an affordable price, but apparently GM figured they would somehow be able to get the price down. Earlier this year, GM started making noises about problems being encountered in the plug-in concept. In October, Congress approved a $7500 rebate for purchasers of the first 250,000 Volts if they are plug-ins. Limited numbers of Hybrids like Prius already get smaller rebates. Toyota has said that they COULD produce a pricey plug-in, but why should they when their hybrids are so popular?

Would you personally be interested in a Chevy Volt at $35K? How about $25K? We are talking a 40-mile gas-free range between charges, no gas, no emissions. There will be a 400-mile overall range provided by a small gas engine whose only purpose is to recharge the batteries. The state of Hawaii is already considering setting up plug-in recharging stations, like in Wal-Mart parking lots. Would this affect your decision? The way I see it is if no one is interested or can afford The Volt, then there is no hope for the american auto industry.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is This News?

The National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed today that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007.

The NBER is a private group of leading economists whose mission is to officially date the start and end of economic downturns. A recession is defined by 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP. An official depression occurs when real GDP declines by 10% or more.

Does anyone else feel they've been purposely lied to? Remember all the assurances we were hearing all year about how sound our fundamental economy was? Turns out we were already in a recession, but up and down the line, most govermental spokespersons kept blabbing about temporary real estate market problems, soft landing corrections, short term small hike in inflation, how the 2nd Qtr GDP was not a loss, etc. Of course, all this came crashing down in September, with only Senator McCain failing to get the memo: ix-nay on the ound-say undamental-fays!

How long will the recession last? Here are the historical figures:

....(click to enlarge this table) ....
and note it does not even include Depressions, as in The Great Depression (which drug on for 10+ YEARS)!

So now it's official, wooo hooo! And all those who had been feeding so furiously at the Free Market Deregulation Table are loudly screaming for a share of federal bailout rescue money. They know $700 billion is only the tip of what will be required, and as usual, they are first in line for any free money. They know we will do whatever it takes to turn things around. It's up to us to make sure it is NOT free, that the strings attached to the money will ensure that it accomplishes the purpose of economic recovery.

Paul Krugman recently wrote, "anything that has to be rescued during a financial crisis, because it plays an essential role in the financial mechanism, should be regulated when there isn't a crisis so that it doesn't take excessive risks".

It's up to us to make sure the regulations that were so cravenly discarded, regulations that were put in place after the Great Depression to prevent it from ever happening again, are reinstated AND redesigned so that we can better understand how the system works to prevent future malfunctioning. It's my opinion that all the overly complicated financial products introduced as a sort of shadow banking system in the last 20-yrs were very disruptive. They weren't boring, but no one really understood them. By design?

Here's a brief recap of how billions of rescue dollars have been spent so far in 2008:

$1.6 trillion in loans to banks in exchange for unwanted collateral (the Fed raised its monthly auction limit to $300billion in Oct '08).
$70 billion PER DAY "lent" to investment banks, since March '08.
$92 billion PER DAY "lent" to commercial banks.
$250 billion out of $700 billion allocated to banks in exchange for equity shares (no word on who got what or how they are using it).
Fed rates cut down to unbelieveable 1% in October 2008.
Unlimited Dollars to 13 foreign central banks (the cap was $24 billion in December '07, raised to $620 billion in October '08, but now it will be "unlimited" because apparently $620billion is not enough american dollars for foreign banks).

$200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (The Fed also took control of these firms & their $5 TRILLION in home mortgage loans).
$29 billion to Bear Stearns.
$152.5 billion to AIG.
$345 billion to prevent Citigroup from failing.
$25 billion in the works for automakers.
$270 billion in corporate debt commercial paper purchases ($1.4 TRILLION has been allocated for this program).
Business stimulus of $68 billion in tax breaks.

MAIN STREET: Stimulus checks totalling $100 billion earlier this yr.
$8 billion to expand unemployment benefits.
$15.5 billion drawn down from FDIC reserves after 22 bank failures in 2008 (I believe this brings the total reserve down to $40 billion).
$50 billion to insure money market funds, followed by $69 billion in direct money market debt guarantees. Then in October, the Fed said it will loan up to $600 billion directly to money market funds over the next six months (anyone smell another bailout on the way?).
$300 billion approved for at-risk home mortgages (but lenders aren't cooperating because they weren't mandated to, only encouraged to).
$100 billion more to underwrite cheaper home loan rates through Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.
$800 billion approved for consumer loan products, incl credit cards & car loans (once again, lenders are not cooperating).
FDIC coverage increased to $250K per depositor through 2009.

This adds up to a staggering and unprecedented $7 TRILLION. Since some of this money is investment, it's not a total loss. However, "a lot of it will be lost" said Dean Baker, co-director of the center for Economic and Policy Research. Comforting?!?

I don't know about you, but after seeing how much has already been thrown at this beast and how little it has accomplished, Recession is starting to look a whole lot like Depression to me:

Debtor's Prison, or Detention Dungeon?