Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama fires GM's Wagoner

On the heels of the news yesterday that the White House is requiring the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, to step down as part of any restructuring needing federal funds, there's this news this morning:

The White House says neither GM nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit and putting in motion what could be the final two months of two American auto giants.

US President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever.

In a last-ditch effort, the administration gave each company a brief deadline to try one last time to convince Washington it is worth saving, said senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more bluntly discuss the decision.

Obama was set to make the announcement on Monday in the White House's foyer.

This bothers me, but not in some kind of conservative capitalist let-the-market-work kind of way. Bailing out AIG and the Citi and B of A while they pay everybody bonuses is "OK", but bailing out companies that manufacture a product isn't?

The auto manufacturers and their suppliers employ millions of Americans in living-wage jobs with good benefits. The afore-mentioned money managers employ millions of Americans with about 90% of those jobs being low-wage clerks and customer service personnel, and 10% white-collar executives who expect executive compensation tied to performance no matter how badly they perform.

One of these things is just not like the other.

On the other hand, if Obama fires a couple of bank presidents in April, I might feel a little better about it.

Update (4/5): Heh.

The government may require new faces in executive suites at banks requiring “exceptional assistance” in the future, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday.

Critics of the Obama administration’s move last weekend to force out the chairman of General Motors Corp., Rick Wagoner, as a condition for possible additional federal loans say that strong government intervention contrasts with measures placed on the financial industry in return for billions in infusions.

Geithner denied there was a double standard and put banks on notice that they may need to change leadership teams in exchange for accepting more money in the future.

The Weekly Final Four Wrangle

North Carolina, UConn, Villanova and Michigan State -- with the home court advantage -- will play next weekend for college basketball's national championship. Major league baseball's teams break spring training in Florida and Arizona as they prepare to open the season. And there's still lots of large, fresh crawfish to be eaten.

Spring is a beautiful thing (besides the flowers and the green leaves everywhere). Here's your round-up from the Texas Progressive Alliance's member blogs from the past week.

Phillip Martin of Burnt Orange Report is feeling proud to have a Democrat in the Oval Office in his post, President Barack Obama: How He Won & Early Successes.

McBlogger's Harry Balczak has some great news about a new movie coming out.

Off the Kuff examines the economic claims made by the gambling industry, and also prints a response from the racetracks.

BossKitty at TruthHugger recognizes the pattern of disaster cycles; why is everyone surprised when their world is turned upside down? America must pull its pants up and be ready for the unexpected, because it should be expected ... So Many Red Rivers - What Have We Learned. Speaking about learning, What Else Can We Cut Besides Cost ...

The GOP declares doomsday if Obama's budget is enacted. Let's hope they don't pre-emptively invade the White House to try to stop it, as if a Democratic federal budget were equivalent to Saddam's WMD. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reminds us that the Republicans tend to hyperventilate when they exaggerate.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about Houston City Council candidate Noel Freeman and is hopeful that Mr. Freeman will address some questions about how the Democratic Party regards some of its most loyal voters.

At Texas Kaos, Libby Shaw keeps an eye on the best government that political contributions can buy -- TRCC edition, in Fat Cat The Business Owner Sticks It to Joe the Consumer.

nytexan at BlueBloggin is not surprised by the GOP's latest stunt; The Party of NO: GOP Budget Has No Numbers And No Plan. The GOP leadership offered “The Republican Road To Recovery,” a 19-page joke which took them 27 days to write. It actually sounds like a book title for Alcoholics Anonymous. The best part of the GOP budget is there are “no” numbers in it. Page numbers don’t count.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog urges readers to call state representative Angie Chen Button to condemn state representative Leo Berman's Leo Berman.

The Texas Cloverleaf explains why it is going into hibernation.

Also on Burnt Orange Report, Todd Hill had an interview with Tom Schieffer, potential Democratic candidate for governor, about his vision for Texas, his friendship with George W. Bush, and why he thinks he can win in the general election.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on President Obama’s first budget - a primer.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that the cowboy Bush administration is no longer in charge of diplomacy.

Bills to abolish Bob Perry's Builder Commssion will be heard on Tuesday, March 31 in a Business and Industry Subcommittee meeting of the Texas Legislature at 10:00 a.m., according to John Coby at Bay Area Houston.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Health insurers blacklist millions with common ailments

Trying to buy health insurance on your own and have gallstones? You'll automatically be denied coverage. Rheumatoid arthritis? Automatic denial. Severe acne? Probably denied. Do you take metformin, a popular drug for diabetes? Denied. Use the anti-clotting drug Plavix or Seroquel, prescribed for anti-psychotic or sleep problems? Forget about it.

What's more, you can discover that if you lie to an insurer about your medical history and drug use, you will be rejected because data-mining companies sell information to insurers about your health, including detailed usage of prescription drugs.

These issues are moving to the forefront as the Obama administration and Congress gear up for discussions about how to reform the healthcare system so that Americans won't be rejected for insurance.


Sunday Funnies (Beware Bad Dogma edition)