Thursday, December 25

Sweetie Pie

Sweetie Pie takes one for the team - here she is with mom. Katie, too, spends Christmas Eve and Day in Berkeley and sends me this and other cat photos.

Erik, who is from Michigan, and I have a lengthy discussion about the auto-bail-out and generally I have not been for it. After Erik, I feel somewhat differently - sure, Detroit has done some stupid things and not changed with the times. For instance, Ford, GM and Chrysler sued California and Arnold Schwarzenegger for raising minimum efficiency in California to 22 MPG by 2016. They won, instantly ceding the world's largest car market China which today requires >40 MPG. Further we know the UAW has been as difficult partner and unwilling (or able) to cede compensation to compete with the nips who are younger, better run and with less legacy. But then there is this: Wall Street gets >$700 billion for outright fraud while anybody paid excessive bonuses through 2006 while devising a house of destruction have ripped off the country. And worse- many of these bastards are getting bonused this year with our bail-out money. And most of the same bonusing institutions are paying dividends in '08 from our taxes (Lehman's Fuld over last five years: >$200 million, most cashed out). Get real. Detroit employs >1 million Americans, who work damn hard, and probably another two million indirectly. On average, their cost is $70 per hour (vs. $40 for the Japanese) and a yearly wage may be $60K. This is well over America's per capita income but certainly no lavish lifestyle. Worse, many foreign autos with plants in the United States have been subsidized to be in the US'A with tax breaks and other incentives. For Washington (and mostly the Republicans) to kiss off the country's most important manufacturing companies, nor provide support for auto-purchase financing via GMAC or others, while directly supporting foreigners and the Wall Street rip off is a fiasco. And should we be surprised with Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs humping the dog? He and Bush - heck of a job. Erik wonders why Michigan doesn't break away from the Union and join Canada. Preposterous but then... perhaps not so.

On December 21 interviews, Cheney notes that FDR and Lincoln did things far worse than he and the Bush Administration's over-reach regarding the U.S. Constitution and things like torture during a war-time. May I point out that FDR imprisoned Japanese Americans while Lincoln suspended habeous corpus when civilians demanded protection from arbitrary arrest and the right to protest the conduct of the Civil War? These are some of the darkest moments in American history so way to set the bar Dick. I congratulate you.


Sonnet ponders choosing a football team in the Premier League.
Sonnet: "Maybe it will be West Brom (worst in the league). They could use some support."
Eitan: "Are you crazy? It will take them ages. How about Liverpool? or Arsenal?" (interestingly not Man U which is maybe too personal somehow?)
Madeleine: "How about that team that has that guy?"
Eitan: "That's Manchester United. And you mean Cristiano Rinaldo."
Sonnet: "Well maybe I'll go with Arsenal - that's dad's team."
Eitan: "That is a strange way to choose a team."