Rescue plan may be a good investment; other views

Kudlow likes the plan. He says it is a win-win-win-win.
Charles Martin at Explorations provides a link to an economist’s persepctive.
The investment aspect of the plan is making friends and the Congressional Republicans are insisting profits go toward paying down the national debt. I like that.
Looks like a deal is happening and we get a debate tonight.

Democrats blocked reform of Freddie and Fannie; Received most money from Freddie and Fannie

The financial crisis is being labeled by all concerned as the most serious crisis since the Great Depression. People on the street, myself included, are scrambling to figure this out. Now Democrats are calling for more regulation of financial institutions. However, in the recent past, they blocked such regulations despite calls from the Bush administration, Alan Greenspan and John McCain. Watch this FOX News report for details.

Now examine the contributions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to politicians. Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd leads the way. He also didn’t want McCain to come to town and mess up the deal he helped construct for the bailout.
The top four receivers of contribution were:

1. Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT) $133,900
2. Kerry, John (D-MA) $111,000
3. Obama, Barack (D-IL) $105,849
4. Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $75,550

Now I know John McCain’s campaign manager lobbied for Freddie and Fannie but it is clear that this role by Rick Davis did not prevent Sen. McCain from calling for more oversight. Forgive me if I am less than trusting of a Democratically controlled Congress speeding a rescue package through. I believe the answer has to be a bi-partisan effort but I also am skeptical that the one’s who have been saying everything is fine should be the one’s leading the charge.
See also Bill Clinton’s confirmation that the Democrats stonewalled regulation.

Economic rescue plan news: Details emerging

You’re probably not reading here if you want current news regarding the historic meeting between Obama, McCain, Bush and Congressional leaders, but since you are here, check out these links for sites that are monitoring the developments.
National Review – Larry Kudlow
Politico.com
Meanwhile, economiic numbers out today smell like recession
Bush says the meeting going on now is designed to gain consensus regarding the rescue plan…

Obama initiated the proposed summit with McCain; doesn't want to postpone debate

According to the Associated Press,

The Obama campaign said in a statement that Obama had called McCain around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. McCain called back six hours later and agreed to the idea of the statement, the Obama campaign said. McCain’s statement was issued to the media a few minutes later.
“We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,” McCain said. “I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.”

I think this signals how severe the financial crisis looks to the politicians. It appears both candidates are convinced that quick action is necessary in order to stabilize the markets and the economy as a whole. Developing…
UPDATE: Oh my, they are going to argue over who had the idea first. This does not look like a good sign for jointly working out a economic plan. From Jonathan Martin at Politico.

Senator Obama phoned Senator McCain at 8:30 am this morning but did not reach him. The topic of Senator Obama’s call to Senator McCain was never discussed. Senator McCain was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama. At 2:30 pm, Senator McCain phoned Senator Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Senator Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem.

McCain suspends campaign to focus on economic crisis

I am not student of presidential campaigns but this seems unprecedented.

NEW YORK (CNN) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington and focus on the “historic” crisis facing the U.S. economy.
McCain said it was time for both parties to come together to solve economic crisis.
The Arizona senator called on his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, to do the same. He also urged organizers of Friday’s presidential debate at the University of Mississippi to postpone the event.
“I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself,” McCain told reporters in New York. “It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”
There was no immediate response from the Obama campaign.

UPDATE: John McCain’s campaign just sent out this email:

John McCain’s Remarks on the Economic Crisis
New York, NY
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.
Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.
It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.
Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.
I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.
We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.
I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.
Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

More from Obama as well:

“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration’s proposal,” McCain said. “I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.”
McCain said he has spoken to Obama about his plans and asked the Democratic presidential nominee to join him.
Obama’s campaign did not immediate say whether he supported a delay of the debate or would also stop campaigning.
The Obama campaign said in a statement that Obama had called McCain around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. McCain called back six hours later and agreed to the idea of the statement, the Obama campaign said. McCain’s statement was issued to the media a few minutes later.
“We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,” McCain said. “I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.”

Mental health parity bills pass House, Senate

This just in from the American Mental Health Counselors Association:

E-News from Washington
Vol. 08-36
September 24, 2008
House, Senate Approve Landmark Parity Bills
In historic votes held Tuesday, September 23, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed separate bills requiring private sector health plans to end discriminatory coverage of mental health and addictive disorder services. The votes bring AMHCA, ACA and other mental health advocacy organizations significantly closer to the long-standing goal of enacting strong federal parity protections.
Both votes occurred Tuesday afternoon. A free-standing parity bill, H.R. 6983, the “Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act,” was voted on in the House of Representatives. The bill included the parity protections agreed to earlier this year by House and Senate negotiators, as well as provisions to offset the legislation’s relatively small costs. The House vote was 376-47, a very strong show of support for the legislation.
In the Senate, identical parity protections were included as part of a broad package of wide-ranging tax-related provisions, including extensions of expiring and expired tax credit and incentive programs, a short-term adjustment to the alternative minimum tax, and provisions for helping victims of recent natural disasters. The Senate vote on the package was 93-2.
It is unclear what the next step for the parity legislation will be, although further votes are expected in the coming days. House and Senate members have not yet reached agreement on how to pay for the tax-related provisions approved by the Senate, which is why the House considered the parity legislation separately.
AMHCA and ACA thank their members who contacted Congress in support of parity. We encourage counselors to stay tuned for further developments, and to be prepared for more grassroots work as needed. We’re almost there!
For more information, contact either Beth Powell with AMHCA (at 800-326-2642, ext. 105, e-mail: bpowell@amhca.org) or Scott Barstow with ACA (at 800-347-6647 x234, e-mail: sbarstow@counseling.org).
Beth Powell
Director, Public Policy and Professional Issues
American Mental Health Counselors Association
The only organization working exclusively for mental health counselors
801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 304
Alexandria, VA 22314

I am glad to see this but the devil will be in the details of how to pay for it when we are in such a financial crisis.

Obama campaign no-show at clergy forum

I received the following press release this morning:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 /Christian Newswire/ — A top-level advisor and ten-member delegation for Sen. Barack Obama were no- shows at yesterday’s Reese RoundTable on Capitol Hill, a forum for the campaigns to present their respective candidates’ worldviews and how that informs their ideas about government.
The Obama representative, the Reverend Evna Terri La Velle, Senior Advisor Religious Affairs for Obama for America, inexplicably cancelled only hours before the event. When event organizers appealed to Democratic Party Officials, they were told someone would “look into it,” but that these decisions are made in Chicago, meaning Obama campaign headquarters.
Event host, Rev. Rob Schenck, who moderated the discussion, said he was profoundly disappointed. He released this statement:
“Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean assured me last year in a private meeting in his office that his party would do everything possible to constructively engage Evangelicals, traditional Catholics and other moral conservatives. He even pledged to participate in events like this. Barack Obama has made similar promises. They did a couple of high-profile media events, but it appears they were not serious at a grass- roots level. Yesterday’s last-minute unexplained cancellation was nothing short of a snub. Our capacity crowd was insulted by their absence.”

I called National Clergy Council chief of staff, Peggy Birchfield who said John McCain’s campaign sent Robert Heckman, Senior Advisor. Birchfield said that Obama representative, Rev. La Velle, confirmed her attendance on Monday but backed out via text message the day of the event.
The forum went on anyway with 75 people in attendance, including some Obama supporters who left early, according to Birchfield. The audience was made up of local clergy, congressional staffers and members of the media. The forum was videotaped and is scheduled to be available of the organization’s website later today.

Dissecting the Palin Rumor mill – Pajama Media

Charles Martin, keeper of an extensive list of claims regarding Sarah Palin, put up a thoughtful article today regarding the Palin rumor mill. He lists a couple of debunkings from this site as well as distills some principles for evaluating rumors during the political season.

What it does teach us, though, is to watch out for people reporting these rumors as fact. The old newspaper adage was “if your mother tells you she loves you, get a second source.” So here are some new ones — useful any time, but especially useful on these political rumors:
Any time you hear about a budget “cut,” check the previous year’s budget.
Consistently, every rumor about Palin cutting a budget has turned out to be an increase that was smaller than someone asked for.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
This applies to a lot of the rumors on both sides, frankly. “Obama is a secret Muslim.” “Palin was a member of a secessionist party.” “Obama wasn’t born in the USA.” “McCain wasn’t born in the USA.” This applies especially to stories that match your preconceptions.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
The bigger the surprise would be, the less likely it’s true.
Applying these to most all the Palin and Obama rumors would have saved a lot of pixels over the last two years.

Given that I have investigated several of these Palin rumors, I am going to soon put the links all on one page so I can add and modify them as needed.