Monday, January 19, 2009

new blog

Private Buffoon.

Countdown clock at 0 days 0 hours 0 minutes 00.0 sec...

... I think it's off by about 12 hours!

With many of my fellow citizens, I'll be watching PRESIDENT Obama take the oath of office tomorrow (10 a.m. local time).

Here 'tis:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
[U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1]
Note: the "so help me God" bit was added by Washington, setting a so-far unbroken precedent.

Pursuing W

Yes - it would be easier to forget him & move on.

BUT the damage he has done cannot be set right without a full accounting.

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., said it well:
"I understand that many feel we should just move on. They worry that addressing these actions by the Bush administration will divert precious energy from the serious challenges facing our nation. I understand the power of that impulse. Indeed, I want to move on as well -- there are so many things that I would rather work on than further review of Bush's presidency. But in my view it would not be responsible to start our journey forward without first knowing exactly where we are.

"We cannot rebuild the appropriate balance between the branches of government without fully understanding how that relationship has been distorted. Likewise, we cannot set an appropriate baseline for future presidential conduct without documenting and correcting the presidential excesses that have just occurred."

[Why We Have to Look Back, WaPo, 16 Jan 2009]
One of my correspondents just sent me an email stating that he'd just sent a note to his Representative & Senators urging them to support Rep. Conyers's initiative.

I recall a perhaps apocryphal FDR anecdote:
FDR was, of course, a consummate political leader. In one situation, a group came to him urging specific actions in support of a cause in which they deeply believed. He replied: I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.
[Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A Man of the Century, an address by William J. vanden Heuvel to the Monthly Meeting of The Century Association, 4 Apr 2002; emphasis added]
President Obama has indicated a reluctance to drag the nation through what would almost certainly be an ugly investigation.
Perhaps if he believed he had been forced to do it - forced by us, his constituents - he would be less reluctant.

Largely plagiarized from my correspondent's email, here's the letter I just sent Rep. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall, and Sen. Jeff Bingaman:
I fully agree with Rep. John Conyers's call for a full and complete investigation of Bush Administration misconduct ("Why We Have to Look Back", John Conyers Jr., Washington Post, 16 Jan 2009;

We cannot just forget about it & move forward. We cannot just say mistakes were made. Recall George Santayana's quote, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." No one should be above the law. Especially the President of the United States and his administration.

Please initiate or support a full investigation of President Bush's actions as recommended by Rep. Conyers.
And please urge President Obama to allow the Department of Justice to pursue this investigation wherever it may lead.

Thank you.
For those of you in NM1, here's contact info:
Senator Jeff Bingaman
(202) 224-5521

Senator Tom Udall
(202) 224-6621

Congressman Martin Heinrich
1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6316
[email contact form at:]
Have a nice day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

MLK Day plans: doing my part

I've been informed that Monday is MLK Day.
I'll commemorate it as W's LAST DAY - time to clean house.

Though it's not a particularly public-spirited gesture, I think I'll take the "clean house" bit literally, and clean the house.
The symbolism is worth it.

Have a nice day.

On second thought...

... I may ask for Treasury to take over some "troubled assets".

Contest: can any of my readers suggest a multi-word, multi-syllabic, financial-instrument-sounding name for a PowerBall ticket? Using Enron-esque accounting I can value it at $20Mn - which value I honestly believe to be "impaired". If Treasury could take it off my hands at 10% of valuation, I'd be really happy.

Sing a song.

Just for fun...

... I hit the U.S. Treasury's TARP website today, hoping to find some way to apply for TARP funds... without being indicted for fraud.

It's not clear that this is possible - all the posted deadlines have passed.
Maybe with the new funds (the next $350Bn) now available there'll be a window of opportunity. I'll visit Treasury again after the Inauguration.

My plan is simple: represent my current situation honestly. Use my SSN whenever magic ID numbers are sought. It'd be nice if I could come up with multi-syllabic, multi-word, bureaucratic-sounding synonym for "retired statistician & homeowner" as the name of my "privately held institution".
I'd be asking for direct infusion of $$$, not to unload "troubled assets".
I'd be more than happy to guarantee that funds would NOT be used to acquire other entities, to pay executive bonuses, or to fund extravagant weekend team-building exercises.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549: Good news

Not only did 150 + 5 crew walk off the plane thanks to expert response of captain & crew, BUT...

Nobody paid much attention to W's farewell address: all news focused on the 'miraculous' ditching of Flight 1549!

(... AND: W did NOT appear on the scene with bullhorn!!!)