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Economic Outrage du Jour: Emails Exposed

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Hugh Son at Bloomberg reports that e-mails forced into the light show that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, parts of whose job is supposedly to be curtailing bankers’ riskiest impulses, told American International Group to conceal information about its payments to banks while the financial crisis was unfolding:

AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that the insurer paid banks, which included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA, 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the firm. The New York Fed crossed out the reference, according to the e-mails, and AIG excluded the language when the filing was made public on Dec. 24, 2008. The e-mails were obtained by Representative Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. …

“It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information,” said Issa, a California Republican. Taxpayers “deserve full and complete disclosure under our nation’s securities laws, not the withholding of politically inconvenient information.”

You won’t hear any applause in this corner for the obstructionist, ultra-wealthy Darrell Issa. His self-funded recall petition encumbered us Californians with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governorship, a position Issa himself hoped to capture. His support for English-Only laws, right-wing attacks on ACORN, dissing of the 9/11 widows and other antics since his self-funded campaign put him in Congress epitomize the politics progressives are duty-bound to grind into dust.

But, frankly, if the disclosures in those emails are what Bloomberg and Reuters and others are saying, congressional Democrats ought to be on top of this issue. Must we depend on the richest man in Congress to engage in an oligarch vs. oligarch battle to give us the skinny about what’s going on?

Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns says, quite correctly:

At issue is whether the 100 cents on the dollar payments by AIG to its credit default swap counterparties were a backdoor bailout.  Most market watchers believe that AIG counterparties would have received significantly less on the free market, exposing them to tens of billions in losses instead of taxpayers (see CW story from March 2009 on this issue). So, in a very real sense, many believe taxpayers were defrauded by the government’s handling of the AIG affair.  This latest revelation only adds to that belief.

Moreover, in regards to Tim Geithner personally, this revelation is extremely damaging. Not only did he, Paulson and Bernanke mishandle the Lehman bankruptcy which triggered the panic central to the financial crisis, but he has now been personally implicated in withholding – covering up, if you will – vital evidence on the looting of taxpayers to the benefit of financial companies, some of whom are not even domestic institutions. You have to see this in a negative light.

With the economy continuing to show signs of at least short-term improvement, many Democrats and some progressives in and out of the party, seem unwilling to second-guess what was done on the fly at the height of the financial crisis. And, with an election year already under way, there may be a tendency to stand publicly and firmly behind Geithner. Hoping for what? That even more damaging revelations don’t come to light before November? How much that was unknown when this was written might become known by then?

Next week, Chairman Phil Angelides will hold the first hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that was approved in May. Some people hope this will operate with the same spirit as the 1930s investigation that came to be known by the name of its last and toughest chairman, the Pecora Commission. If Tim Geithner’s name doesn’t come up a few times during those hearings, it will be a very big surprise.

= = =
The emails are here. (h/t to fladem)


Categories: Politics Tags: , , , ,

Garrett Gilbert, Texas Longhorns QB (PHOTOS, INFO)

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Garrett Gilbert is playing quarterback for Texas in tonight’s BCS National Championship game due to an injury suffered by QB Colt McCoy in the first quarter. Gilbert, a freshman from Buffalo, New York, was born in 1991 and was a USA Today All-USA player last year. Scroll down for photos.

LOOK:


Categories: World Tags: ,

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Weird Science: Why Politicians and Pundits Cling to the "Cadillac Tax" Idea

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

The theory behind the “Cadillac tax” on health plans is little more than wishful thinking based on dubious research. Advocates believe that forcing employers to cut benefits will lead to cheaper, better care. That’s like preventing rain by outlawing umbrellas. Yet the President has reversed his campaign opposition to the tax and now supports it. John Kerry, who I respect, is defending it too.(1) Why?

They’re poorly served by their advisors, and by pundits who cling to the idea in the face of new evidence. Although the Washington Post got it right, too many analysts and journalists are beholden to ideas that Art Levine rightly dubbed “voodoo economics for the punditocracy.”

Why do President Obama and his advisors keep touting the tax? And why do journalists like David Leonhardt of the New York Times keep asserting that “health economists” think it’s a good idea? Uwe Reinhardt – the most respected health economist in the country – said the idea that “with high cost-sharing, patients will do the only legitimate . . . cost-benefit calculus … surely is nonsense.”

The best-known advocate for the tax is MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was hyping it as recently as a week ago, without mentioning new and contradictory data.

The Post described Gruber in 2007 as “possibly the party’s most influential health-care expert and a voice of realism in its internal debates.” How can a “voice of realism” claim that this is “a tax that’s not a tax,” one that affects “generous” plans? That statement was published only nineteen days after a paper in the influential journal Health Affairs (summarized here) disproved it. Using actual benefits data, the authors showed the tax would not target “generous” plans. Instead it would unfairly affect plans whose enrollees were older, worked in the wrong industry, or lived in an area where treatment costs are high. A leading actuary came to a similar conclusion.

Gruber also claimed that the money employers save (by slashing benefits to avoid the tax) would be returned to workers as wages or other compensation. But two leading health benefits firms (2) had already published surveys in which the vast majority of employers polled insisted they would do no such thing.

These are intelligent, ethical, dedicated people. So what’s going on? I suspect the problem is an inability to reject an attractive idea, even when confronted with contradictory facts. There is a simple truth in the world of ideas: Theories can be beautiful. Reality can be ugly.

This “beautiful” idea was born in research. The RAND Corporation published the results of its long-term Health Insurance Experiment (HIE) in the 1980s. Researchers claimed that forcing people to pay more for their medical treatment leads to reduced use of medical services, which saved money without making anyone sicker.

The HIE suggested that people who had to pay more for their care avoided treatments their doctors considered medically necessary about as much as those considered unnecessary. Yet, surprisingly, it concluded that they were no less healthy. The HIE became the theoretical foundation for 25 years of benefits-cutting, providing moral cover for a generation of analysts as they shifted medical costs back to patients. (I was one of them.) Now it underlies the thinking behind the “Cadillac tax.”

Here’s Problem #1: The HIE’s been challenged by a number of economists. As University of Minnesota economics professor John Nyman told me, “I don’t believe you can have a reduction of 25% in hospital admissions and not have it show up in any health measures.” While we don’t have space here to tackle the debate, it’s fair to say that the study’s conclusions are controversial at best. Gruber, a RAND defender, described the study as the “gold standard.” Others disagree.

Problem #2: Even if you accept RAND’s findings, you have to believe they still apply after widespread changes in society, the economy, and employer/employee relations. And then you have to believe Gruber’s assertion, based on long-term wage and benefit trends, that employers will give most of that money back to workers as compensation.

Even though surveys say they won’t …

So let’s review this fragile latticework of assumptions: First, that the RAND study is sound. Second, that the tax will only target ‘generous’ plans, despite a very thorough study disproving that. Third, that employers will give much of this money back to workers, although they say they won’t.

On that thin reed of assumptions the White House, many Senators, some economists, and the tax’s editorial supporters (Leonhardt, Ezra Klein, etc.) are prepared to support a policy that by 2016 will reduce coverage for one American in five with employer insurance. That’s more than eleven million people – and the figure would rise sharply each year.

What went wrong? I can’t know for sure, but here’s a thought: Experts can have an “aha” moment, a flash of insight, even when the pattern they perceive isn’t really there. They can build models and theories – even reputations – around that pattern. When evidence proves the pattern is false, they literally can’t see it.

Fortunately, it’s not too late. We can see it. There’s still time for the President, Senator Kerry, and other leaders to change course. Prof. Gruber and other tax advocates can still review these new findings. They and their advisors can discard an attractive but disproved theory and do the right thing for the American people.

_________________________

(1) Although it was gratifying that Sen. Kerry acknowledged that the tax’s thresholds are too low.
(2)Towers Perrin Employer Survey, “Health Care Reform 2009: Leading Employers Weigh In,” (pdf), September 17, 2009; Mercer, “Majority of Employers Would Reduce Health Benefits to Avoid Proposed Excise Tax,” December 3, 2009

Richard Eskow is currently working with the Campaign for America’s Future to stop the health excise tax. He blogs at:

No Middle Class Health Tax
A Night Light
The Sentinel Effect: Healthcare Blog

Website: Eskow and Associates

More on Barack Obama


Categories: World Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Janet Tavakoli: Timothy Geithner, I Call Your Bluff

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

The Treasury responded to reports that the New York Fed asked AIG to suppress and delay facts about the bailout. Meg Reilly, a Treasury spokesperson claimed: “In the transaction at the heart of this dispute…the FRBNY [Federal Reserve Bank of New York] made a loan of $25 billion which is on track to be paid back in full with interest.” She claims the loan is currently “above water.”

In the first place, that loan is not the heart of the dispute. Nonetheless, the FRBNY should immediately release the details of all of the Maiden Lane III assets backing that loan and show the current prices BlackRock has placed on them. Based on the current market, it is extremely likely that the loan is underwater.

The assets backing the loan are so-called super senior and AAA rated collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Similar CDOs trade for under ten cents on the dollar, not close to the average price of 35 cents for the loan’s assets shown in a recent Fed report. The Fed claims prices climbed 4.5%. Yet in the secondary market, prices have dropped.

The Fed awarded no-bid contracts to BlackRock to manage and price these assets (among other things). Given BlackRock’s track record as a CDO manager*, I have no reason to believe its prices are reliable. As I mention above, I have reason to question the prices.

If the Treasury wants to publicly claim the loan is not underwater, now is the time to prove it, even though this particular loan is not the key issue.

As Representative Darrell Issa explained in his letter to the Fed, at the heart of this dispute is my assertion that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in his former role as President of the FRBNY, paid 100 cents on the dollar to settle AIG’s credit default swap contracts, and he wildly overpaid. Other bond insurers including Ambac, MBIA, and FGIC have settled similar contracts for as little as ten cents on the dollar.

The general public was kept unaware of several politically explosive facts. Risky subprime loans partly backed CDOs that AIG insured. Goldman Sachs played a key role in AIG’s distress with both credit default swap transactions and CDOs that Goldman underwrote. The identities of the banks–including some foreign banks–that received payments were not revealed until five months after the bailout. The November 2009 TARP Inspector General’s report failed to mention that Goldman originated or bought protection from AIG on about $33 billion of the problematic $80 billion of U.S. mortgage assets that AIG “insured” with credit derivatives, about twice as much as the next two largest banks involved.

The TARP report also failed to highlight the character of the synthetic CDOs underwritten by Goldman Sachs that remain on AIG’s books. There is nothing wrong with hedging or taking the opposite view to one’s customers. There is nothing wrong with using credit derivatives to accomplish this goal. But there are serious questions about whether residential mortgage backed securities and downstream CDOs were value-destroying and misrated.

Wall Street was chiefly responsible for the “financial innovation” that did massive damage to the U.S. economy. I assert there should be fraud audits of Wall Street’s securitization activities.

Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding AIGs trades, the global financial crisis, and the AIG bailout, it is time to reopen this issue. AIG’s counterparties can repurchase the approximately $62 billion CDOs from Maiden Lane III at full price**. If the Fed really believes they are worth 35 cents on the dollar, then these counterparties will be getting a windfall versus ten cents on the dollar. As for Goldman Sachs’s approximately $8.2 billion in CDOs (including synthetic CDOs) that are still on AIG’s books, they can be settled at ten cents on the dollar, and excess collateral currently held by Goldman can be returned. This is the value at which other bond insurers have settled similar deals. The return of payments to AIG can be used to pay down its public debt, before banks pay tax-payer subsidized bonuses to their employees.

* BlackRock managed Pacific Pinnacle CDO ($1 billion; closed 1/1/07; event of default 2/4/08); Pinnacle Point Funding ($2B closed 6/7/07; acceleration 12/13/07); Tenorite CDO I ($1 B closed 5/11/07; liquidation 2/7/08); and Tourmaline CDO III ($1.5 billion closed 4/5/07; event of default 3/31/08). (Earlier I wrote a post that included a 2005 Tourmaline deal managed by BlackRock that ended up being part of a CDO bailed out by the Fed.) I highlight BlackRock’s 2007 CDOs similar to those in it now manages for the Fed, because in 2007 mainstream media was already reporting on the potential for these CDOs of this type to blow up. I wrote an article for the precursor to Risk Professional in early 2007 warning about the type of value-destroying CDOs that AIG insured. I had also issued earlier warnings on other types of value-destroying CDOs.

**The price can be adjusted for interim principal and interest payments, as applicable.

More on Timothy Geithner


Categories: World Tags: , ,

Republicans just want to be terrified

January 7th, 2010 admin No comments

Ben Smith:

King: Use word ‘terrorism’ more

New York Rep. Peter King, a leading Republican critic of the White House on terror policy, offered a piece of advice on Good Morning America today: Obama should speak the word “terrorism” more.

“You are saying someone should be held accountable. Name one other specific recommendation the president could implement right now to fix this,” host George Stephanopolous said to King.

“I think one main thing would be to — just himself to use the word terrorism more often,” said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.

That’s right…the GOP’s #1 security guy in the House thinks President Obama’s biggest failing is that he just doesn’t say the word terrorism enough.

Well, if Mr. King is so darn eager to be super-terrified then why hasn’t he been listening to what the President and the Administration have actually been saying?

For example:

  1. 70 examples of remarks by the President mentioning terror or its derivatives.
  1. 83 statements or releases.
  1. And 64 press briefings.

So why doesn’t King know this? Maybe it’s because he’s off cowering in the corner somewhere. Or maybe he’s just a Dick Cheneyish liar.


Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,

ND-Sen: Byron Dorgan Announces His Retirement

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

There really isn’t a way to spin this one in a positive light:

North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan will not run for re-election later this year, creating a major pickup opportunity for Republicans.

“After a lot of thought I have made the very difficult decision that I will not be seeking reelection in 2010,” Dorgan wrote in a memo to staff distributed this afternoon.

For months, the speculation in North Dakota was that Republican Governor John Hoeven, who has been easily re-elected to three terms as the state’s Chief Executive, would challenge Dorgan in 2010. Democrats had found a modicum of hope in the fact that Hoeven had not yet made the plunge. Much like the recent odyssey with Rudy Giuliani in New York, the sense was that an announcement was imminent in the Fall, only to be followed by lengthy silence.

If Hoeven continues to demur, the GOP can turn to a number of other potential candidates in a state where most of the statewide elected officials are affiliated with the Republican Party.

Democratic hopes may well rest on the leader of their very thin bench in North Dakota: Congressman Earl Pomeroy. But Pomeroy has been relatively secure in the House, whereas a Senate bid would certainly prove to be a greater challenge. There would likely be no small amount of reluctance on his part to give up a reasonably secure seat and two decades of seniority to start a career in the Senate at the age of 57.

Dorgan’s statement to the press read, in part, as follows:

“It has been a special privilege to serve with Senator Conrad and Congressman Pomeroy, who do an outstanding job for our state. And although he inherited an economy in serious trouble, I remain confident that President Obama is making the right decisions to put our country back on track.

Further, my decision has no relationship to the prospect of a difficult election contest this year. Frankly, I think if I had decided to run for another term in the Senate I would be reelected.

But I feel that after serving 30 years, I want to make time for some other priorities. And making a commitment to serve in the Senate for the next seven years does not seem like the right decision for me.

So, 2010 will be my last year in the Senate.

Dorgan has been in public life since his mid-twenties, when he became North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner. From there, he served a dozen years in the House before being elected to the US Senate. He coasted through easy re-elections in both 1998 and 2004.

For more discussion, see hekebolos’ diary.  – BarbinMD


Categories: Politics Tags: , , , ,

Punching straw

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

Under the header “Um, Pathetic,” the New Yorker’s Hendrick Hertzberg takes on left-wing critics of the health care reform bill. Notably, Hertzberg actually agrees with the substantive criticism of the health care bill.

The left-wing critics are right about the conspicuous flaws of the pending health-care reform—its lack of even a weak “public option,” its too meagre subsidies, its windfalls for Big Pharma, its capitulation on abortion coverage, its reliance on private insurance. And there are surely senators and representatives whose motives are base or, broadly speaking, corrupt.

So what’s Hertzberg’s beef?

But it is nonsense to attribute the less than fully satisfactory result to the alleged perfidy of the President or “the Democrats.”

Ah, so Hertzberg believes that progressives (especially members of what he calls “the Internet cohort”) are impugning President Obama’s motives. He singles out a weeks-old tweet in which Markos slammed the Senate health care bill as a “monstrosity” that should be killed. To Hertzberg, this is an example of “nonsense,” but such a glib proclamation overlooks the fact that when Markos made his statement, the final Senate bill was still being negotiated, and progressive pushback likely made it stronger than it otherwise would have been.

Certainly, progressives could have shouted from the rooftops about how great the bill was, but who can forget what happened when we jumped on board the Medicare buy-in compromise? Didn’t go so well, did it? At least this time, Ben Nelson was unsuccessful in his efforts to reduce subsidies, the loophole allowing insurers to cap annual benefits was eliminated, Bernie Sanders’ Community Health Centers were funded, and a loophole allowing national plans to sidestep state regulations was closed.

Would those things have happened without progressive pressure? Perhaps, but the notion that progressives made the bill worse is implausible. Still, Hertzberg has a helpful suggestion for how we can be more effective in the future:

The critics’ indignation would be better directed at what an earlier generation of malcontents called “the system”—starting, perhaps, with the Senate’s filibuster rule, an inanimate object if there ever was one.

So we should talk about the filibuster? Um, there’s been no shortage of that. On the Daily Kos front page, for example, I found more than 100 posts discussing either the filibuster and the public option or cloture and the public option. In fact, one of our Contributing Editors — David Waldman — is an expert on Congressional procedure and probably understands Senate rules better than any other political journalist in America. (David also blogs at Congress Matters.)

In light of Hertzberg’s concession that “left-wing critics are right about the conspicuous flaws of the pending health-care reform” and the fact that blogs like Daily Kos have been focused like a laser beam on the very thing that he wants us to focus on, it’s somewhat perplexing that he devoted a full column to trashing those with whom he agrees instead of looking for solutions to the substantive problems that he says we must address.


Categories: Politics Tags: , , , , , ,

Deepak Chopra: Is the Fate of Democracy in Sarah Palin’s Hands?

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

A recent review of Sarah Palin’s bestselling book, Going Rogue, ends by declaring that she is the worst nightmare come true for democrats with a small d. This is both a startling and an obvious claim. It’s obvious in that Palin is a rabble-rouser. Without shame or apology she targets the crazy right, fueling their resentment and anger with outright lies. “Death panels” are only the most colorful example. She is willing to bait the mob with any fear about America’s future, from financial collapse to terrorist devastation.

Palin’s image as an abortion-hating, meat-eating, gun-toting hockey mom is a flimsy contrivance. But if she seems like a prime example of political piffle, Palin’s rise is also startling, because her followers truly bond with her in a visceral way that is rare for any politician. In February Palin will give the keynote speech to a national convention of the tea-bag movement. At that moment we will learn something about political passions and the future of democracy — something we wish wasn’t there.

In his year-end roundup, New York Times columnist David Brooks said that he has always looked to passionate outsiders as omens for the future. John Birchers in the Sixties, feminists in the Seventies, and religious fundamentalists in the Eighties are examples of embattled outsiders who gained center stage through their passionate commitment. Brooks sees that same passion among the tea-baggers, with their blinkered obsession over socialism, taxes, and big government. It’s a potent, toxic mix. Ronald Reagan wasn’t telling the truth when he said that government is the problem, not the solution, but with that slogan he launched a reactionary crusade. Today, thousands of Americans feel more compelled than ever to join that crusade.

Once any political movement wins, it becomes self-justifying. Reaganism was on the whole very harmful to America and at its heart hypocritical, since Reagan presided over an enormous jump in the size of government and a tripling of the deficit. But since the reactionary right was able to seize the reins of democracy, it automatically felt justified. As a result, a generation of Americans has grown up disgusted with government while at the same time buying into a range of bigoted and prejudicial beliefs that make good government impossible. When you will do anything to block healthcare reform, immigration reform, subsidized spending for a crippled economy, and increased revenues to care for an aging population, government isn’t the problem: you are.

People don’t like to feel that they are the problem. Therefore, many flock to a myth-maker like Palin. Her hokey frontier ethic is completely divorced from reality. Few poor people can shoot a moose outside our back window or would want to. They need food stamps and other kinds of compassionate help. Palin touts free enterprise and hates federal programs. But Alaska takes more federal dollars per capita than any other state, and a third of its jobs are government jobs.

What we’re seeing is an old tactic in new bottles. The right wing thrived by distracting voters from reality. The average person’s life isn’t remotely affected by school prayer, flag-burning, late-term abortion, or gay marriage. But if you get enough voters aroused by these issues, the party in power can subsidize the rich with vast tax cuts and look aside as real incomes for the middle-class fail to rise. All the benefits of corruption, from freewheeling lobbyists and influence peddling to Wall Street chicanery and subprime lending, go to the haves and hurt the have nots.

Palin has turned up the volume but pursues the same tactic. Her situation is one that’s easy to identify with if you are hurting. She holds together a family and fiercely defends it in the face of a teenage pregnancy and a Down’s syndrome baby. It’s also easy to identify with her knee-jerk reaction against taxes, federal bureaucracy, and unwanted intrusions from Washington.

But if you go one layer deeper, Palin’s kind of mobocracy would lead to the following:
— reluctant assistance for victims of disasters like Katrina
— a burgeoning underclass cut adrift from government aid
— an out-of-control medical system at the mercy of insurance companies and ever-rising costs
— the vicious criminalization of illegal immigrants
— a belligerent military stance around the world
— an atmosphere of permanent fear-mongering
— the driving out of tolerant, educated people from the political system
— a chaotic attack on all government programs
— a huge mismatch between income and spending by the government

This list would represent fear-mongering on my part except for the fact that all these things occurred during the Bush years. Democracy suffered a huge setback with the long reign of right-wing ideology. All that Sarah Plain offers is an amped-up version fueled by more blatant appeals to mindless fear and rage. Will she succeed? It’s an open question. The American public has barely emerged from the fog of illusion; Palin’s success or failure will tell us a lot about whether the same fog, only thicker, is about to return.

Deepak Chopra on Intent.com
For more information go to deepakchopra.com

More on Sarah Palin


Karen Porter Sorensen: for the Love of all Things Slow: Reflections on a Too Fast World

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

2010-01-06-GardenSnail.jpg

It’s 2010, already. Unbelievable isn’t it – how quickly time passes? I’m taking time to reflect on the previous year and thinking of resolutions for the new one. I live in New York, one of the most hectic, fastest-moving cities in the world. I love the city and chose to move here, but lately I have been feeling the urge to just ’slow down.’ Everything is always moving in fast-motion guided by the notion that time= money. At my job, my co-workers are always multi-tasking and rushing to cram into a single day what realistically should be done in a week. My friends are always making plans, on top of plans in the fruitless effort to have more fun. Personally I always feel in a rush: I eat fast, think fast, talk fast and walk fast. Perhaps I am just worn out and need a radical lifestyle change. Maybe after nine years, it is finally time for me to throw in the towel and leave NYC to move to the country.

If I had it my way, tomorrow I would not wake up at the crack of dawn to travel to work on the packed subway car at rush hour. I would unplug to move at my own speed letting my inner rhythm guide me throughout the day. Well, at this moment living in a cottage in a remote village in Ireland is still just a dream but here are some thoughts on ways to slow down.

When I told my friend about my goal to slow down, she said that there is a book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed, by Carl Honore who offers some inspiring examples of a growing worldwide ’slow’ movement.

“It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.”

Honore, who lives in London, said last spring the city held the first Slow Down London Festival where the city’s residents were offered a rare opportunity to take a break from their rushed lifestyles. Personally I would love for the Festival to come to NYC. Are there are other New Yorkers out there who feel the way I do and want to slow down the pace of your lives just a little? If you’re like me and wishing to lower your life’s speed limit, here are some thoughts for inspiration. First a list of things to observe when you need inspiration, and second a list of activities to follow that will help you reset your daily metronome.

Slow things to observe for inspiration:

  • Clouds floating
  • Plants growing
  • A seed starting
  • Syrup pouring
  • Honey squeezed
  • Sailboats without wind
  • Snails
  • Sloths
  • Worms
  • Herons
  • Small children walking
  • Old women sewing
  • Pregnant women
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Kiddy Carnival rides
  • Noh performances
  • Isicles dripping
  • Candles burning
  • The tide coming in
  • Snow falling

2010-01-06-slowdance.gif

Slow down activities:

  • Slow-dance
  • Walk through snow
  • Row boats
  • Listen to someone you love
  • Eat pomegranates
  • Ride the bus
  • Travel by hot air balloon
  • Talk to people with southern accents
  • Make wine
  • Hand-sew
  • Bake bread
  • Walk home
  • Make sun tea
  • Bake a cake
  • Hand-make clothing
  • Visit cemeteries
  • Wait in lines
  • Soak in the bathtub
  • Pick berries
  • Bird-watching
  • Paint portraits
  • Ride Ferris wheels
  • Watch Tarkovsky films
  • Save money
  • Sip hot tea
  • Make snow angels
  • Walk in the woods
  • Ride Gondolas
  • Slow-kiss


Categories: World Tags: , , , , ,

William Thompson will run for mayor again in 2013

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

Two months after he shocked New York by his narrow loss to Mayor Bloomberg, William Thompson has decided on his next step in politics – throwing his hat back into the ring for 2013.

Categories: Gossip Tags: ,