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Posts Tagged ‘Downgrade’

Proud East Coast Earthquake Wimps

Yes, we streamed out of office buildings. We had some traffic jams. People pretty much freaked out because we’re not supposed to feel what we did today. It feels like everything is kind of shaky these days.

We barely survived the debt default scare, the financial downgrade and Wall Street’s convulsions. And now there’s a hurricane coming. So I was not the least surprised to feel the earthquake. If I am carried off by a swarm of locusts in the morning, I will simply accept this as the new normal.

It’s kind of interesting if you think about it. I mean how many generations of earthlings have passed before us- but we are the ones that get to see the end! Imagine being the first generation to not be able to tell our grand kids about all we went through- because we’ll be gone! So we just need to relax and watch this all unfold.

And we East Coast people are not complete, total wimps! Geologists say the rocks we sit on here in the East are kind of cold, dead things that allow the energy from an earthquake to spread really far without being dissipated. Here’s a Geologist who talked to the Washington Post. His name is Graham Kent. Dr. Graham Kent:

Even though it’s a 5.9, it’s a lot bigger deal than a 5.9 would be in California or Nevada. You might see damage further away from the epicenter than you might expect.

So there- you West Coast people who were laughing at us today. And you New England types who mock us, particularly in the Washington area, for closing schools when there’s an inch of snow—well, well….I guess you got us there.

Anyway…we are survivors here in ‘ol DC. We’re used to being hated for gridlock and taxes. Our highways rival LA and NY’s for their endless congestion. We don’t have a single escalator that works in our subway system. We have Augusts that compare to any horrible month anywhere in the world with miserable heat and humidity that will buckle your knees. We panic, have 9-hour traffic jams and crash into each other in winter storms. We haven’t had a sports team win a championship in nearly 20 years. What’s a little earthquake?

I laugh at earthquakes. The locusts, however, are going to be a little disturbing.

Missouri Mom Tells Off S&P


Lucy Nobbe from Kirkwood, Missouri decided to take matters into her own hands. She rented a plane and a banner and flew over Standard & Poor’s Manhattan offices Tuesday with this message: “Thanks for the downgrade- you should all be fired.”

Representing the outrage felt by tens of millions of Americans over S&P’s downgrade of the United States to AA+ status last Friday, Lucy had enough. She says she initially planned to fly over the Capitol building with the same message for our nation’s gridlocked lawmakers, but realized airspace restrictions over Washington, D.C. would have resulted in an escort from F16 jet fighters and an interview with the Secret Service so she did the next best thing.

To many, many people, S&P’s actions last week smacks them as deeply unpatriotic. The symbolic downgrade has helped send the nation’s and the world’s stock markets into turmoil and caused millions of people sleepless nights as they watch their 401K’s sink into oblivion. S&P then promptly downgraded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which should now make it more expensive for people to get home loans in an already depressed housing market. And they’re not done yet as S&P has now embarked on a downgrading spree; targeting states, counties and municipalities across the nation.

And even if S&P’s message about a dysfunctional American political system was painfully true- their mission is supposed to be grading companies and countries on their credit-worthiness. As their actions helped cause the markets to tank, their own case for the downgrade was belied by the fact the entire world went to the safest haven they could find- the very U.S. Treasuries S&P had just said were unreliable.

As it was there were two parts to S&P’s downgrade message; one economic and one about the political gridlock in DC. As they got the math wrong and overstated the size of the debt by $2 trillion, they admitted their error, dropped the economic argument and presented only the political one.

We don’t need to get into the fact S&P had given Enron a AAA rating until just about the day they went bankrupt, gave sterling ratings to companies who held worthless subprime mortgage loans four years ago, and missed the European debt crisis until it was well underway. It’s more primal than all that. They downgraded America.

And Lucy Nobbe, a single mom and broker who knows a thing or two about finance ended up spending $900 to rent the plane and the banner and make her voice heard over the offices of Standard & Poor’s, speaking for millions of others who continue to scratch their heads at the gridlock and the insanity of it all.

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