Neverending drop

March 3, 2009 1:52:46 PM PST
Just how bad can it get?

It's a question most are asking these days. 'Course, no one has the answer, and if anyone says he or she does, my advice is to run the other way toots sweet.

There were more than a few eyeballs on the stock market today -- as it tried to at least break even after yesterday's nearly 300-point drop to below 7,000, the first time it closed under that number in nearly 12 years.

And what a difference a year makes. Consider this: The market's dropped about 52% since it hit its record high way back in ---- October, 2007.

The uncertainty is what scares people the most, which is one reason Pres. Obama has gotten a long leash of public support for what he's proposed in his unprecedented stimulus package.

If it works, and the economy turns around, then Mr. Obama will be the genius.

If it doesn't, and we continue to plunge deep into -- gasp -- a depression, then the Rush Limbaughs of the world will be the victors. He already appears the spiritual leader of some Republicans, and has become - not in small part because of a White House P.R. campaign -- the front man for the opposition to the President's economic stimulus package.

His keynote speech to Republicans this past weekend -- imagine Rush Limbaugh keynoting a political gathering! -- was a take-off on Barry Goldwater's refrain in his 1964 bid for the Presidency that "extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice."

Limbaugh said he'd make no apology to opposing what he perceived as Mr. Obama's attempt to dramatically change the country.

Except that the President was elected to do just that. Sorry Rush.

We'll have the latest on the economy and the market, tonight at 11.

And we're including a look the dramatic executive order issued by Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell to save millions of dollars in that state's red-ink-drenched budget. Gov. Rell ordered a freeze on all purchases for goods and items not considered immediately essential to the operation of state agencies - a freeze that will remain in place through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The savings, says Rell, will mean $3.2 million in office supplies (paper, toner cartridges, folders and pens); $1.1 million in industrial supplies (cleaning produces, hand tools, hardware and vacuuming equipment); $362,000 in office equipment (fax machines and small printers); and $70,000 in outerwear and uniforms.

Pity the state workers in Connecticut -- their offices won't get cleaned, their printers will not have ink, and their old outerwear, whatever that means, will remain old.

We're also following a developing story in New Jersey - a scandal really, involving guidance counselors and administrators at Ft. Lee High School who are now being accused of changing or deleting grades on some students' transcripts. The goal: to get the students into "selective" colleges and universities. The students and their parents were apparently unaware of all this -- although didn't some of them have a hunch something might have been askew, when they got into a great college with less-than-great grades?

Anyway, there is no small degree of outrage - and it's clearly not going to help any Ft. Lee High student who's waiting to hear from a college admissions office.

And we'll have the results of our informal website poll on the rather surprising twist in The Bachelor show. The guy who was the object of affection for more than a dozen women, last night rejected the woman he asked to marry and pledged his love for the runner-up, whom he had earlier rejected.

I keep asking myself, what parent would ever want their daughter or son to behave like this on national television? But it's a popular show, and perhaps I'm in the minority. Anyway, we're interested in how you feel. CLICK HERE to cast your "vote."

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (cold enough for ya today?), and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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