Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's comment time

Here are a few of the pithiest comments from the sites I've been reading today:

From the LA Times, a comment in response to an OpEd piece by Jonah Goldberg called "No One's Clean in this Mess." I like this comment because it addresses something that's been bothering me - the extent to which Democratic support for Fannie and Freddie contributed to the meltdown.

It's easy to point to Fannie and Freddie and say this all started with crap loans--and easy enough to tie the Democrats to that--for allowing it to happen. But is that what's really causing this to happen? The economists that I'm reading say no--the crisis is being caused by derivatives; to so called financial instruments of mass destruction as Warren Buffet has called them. That's a regulation issue that is directly tied to a Republican administration that did not even try to regulate such risky behaviour.
Submitted by: Donald Baxter, Iowa City
10:30 AM PDT, September 30, 2008

A comment posted to David Brooks' piece "Revolt of the Nihilists"

September 30, 2008 2:40 pm
I have heard time and time again in the past few days that foreclosures are at the root of the problem.This is not true. Over-valued homes are the root of the problem, foreclosures are just another symptom.Everyone is talking about propping up home values. This is will only prolong the agony. Since when is affordable housing a bad thing?
— Robert Constant, Cebu City, Philippines

This last comment ties in to a post on his blog by Dean Baker that was sent to me a friend. Baker says,

"The fact that Alan Greenspan, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and many other others in positions of authority did not recognize the housing bubble in years from 2004-2006 demonstrated extraordinary incompetence. Anyone who still does not understand that the root problem is a bursting housing bubble should not be allowed near the negotiations and certainly should not be writing news articles trying to inform the public."

And just in case you're feeling kind of bi-partisan and country-united-in-the-face-of strife, check out these comments from the Washington Times, posted to an article about Nancy Pelosi's PAC making business payments to her husband's company:

By: MattDrudge
Glad this old hag is getting shown up. I hate Pelosi, Hillary, Royal, and Gwen Ifill...stupid women. The only woman you'll see me getting hot and bothered by is Sarah Palin. And I wish the rest of the MSM would LEAVE HER THE HELL ALONE! Got that, Charlie Gibson? LEAVE SARAH ALONE! LEAVE THAT MOTHER OF FIVE, LADY FROM ALASKA ALONE!
October 1, 2008 at 12:48 a.m.

LOL! Buzzer is blaming Bush!! You need to stay off the pot and Kool-aid! ShowsHow dishonest libs and this dimwit Pelagosi is..Biden will look like the Idiot he is during the debate and the Yobama MSM will say he won!
October 1, 2008 at 12:55 a.m.

Latest Palin Interview

In the latest installment of her interviews with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin is not quite as inarticulate as she was in previous segments. When speaking about things that she BELIEVES IN - like the right to life, Sarah Palin is more comfortable and better able to express herself. She gave a cogent answer to Couric's question about teaching evolution in school. But when asked about global warming, her tongue tripped up again and she became uncomfortable. She switched her subject and predicate, then claimed that it didn't matter WHAT the cause of global warming is, we just need to reduce it. I agree with those in the comment section of the CBS news page that featured the interview who pointed out that it's ridiculous to mitigate the effects of something without removing the cause.

In the interview, Couric asked Palin what were the sources of news she based her worldview on, harking back to a question in a previous interview about Palin not being able to travel, but getting her knowledge from books. Palin appeared to take umbrage at this question, replying that Alaska was not cut off or isolated from the rest of the US, and had plenty of news sources available. Palin didn't name one book, magazine, journal, or review that stimulated her intellectually.

Speaking of lack of intellectual stimulation, why is Willow Palin travelling with her mother? Where are Trig and Piper? Or Bristol, for that matter? I can see how travelling with a candidate can be a great educational experience for a child. But what about school? Is Willow considered as home-schooled? Aren't there requirements in the state of Alaska that require a teaching plan to be presented, including a curriculum that will be covered? Did the Palin family meet those requirements? It is a shame if Sarah Palin's kids grow up to have the same "gut-feeling over rational thought" approach that their mother has. As a comment posted on Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog on the Atlantic Site says: "The Palins are oh-for-two on getting their kids through high school, and one of them is about to marry another drop-out. If those were Obama's kids, you bet it would be talking point #1 on the nightly news."

Here is the video:

Watch CBS Videos Online

I want to hear from Obama

In this time of major economic and political uncertainty, I want to hear from Barack Obama. The Barack Obama that told America to turn off its tv's. The Barack Obama that said fathers need to step up to the responsibility of raising their children.

I want to hear from the Barack Obama that stands for lending a helping hand, not giving it all away. At this point, we really need to hear a major speech from Barack Obama.

McCain's attacks on Vets

Edward Humes of the LA Times takes a look at John McCain's record on veterans' affairs. The gist of this opinion piece is that McCain has, throughout his career, opposed legislation that would improve the lot of veterans. McCain opposed improvements to the GI Bill (proposed by Vietnam vet Senator James Webb of Virgina) because he said recruits would be DISCOURAGED FROM RE-ENLISTING by the prospect of college. (The original GI Bill, introduced after WWII, provided money for a college education after 90 days of service, whether in combat or not. Webb's proposal would provide money for college after three years of service. )

Humes writes:

Why would a Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war, a man who is personally acquainted with the difficulties vets can face in returning to civilian life, join President Bush in opposing a popular bipartisan bill to support the troops? Isn't fixing the education benefit in the bill -- one that has shortchanged far too many veterans for years -- a political no-brainer in an election year? The 75 senators who recently voted for it certainly thought so. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Sen. Barack Obama expressed some well-timed astonishment at McCain’s opposition, and the two have been feuding about it ever since.

Humes go on to list a slew of bills that McCain opposed:

* On Webb's GI Bill, he expressed opposition, and he was AWOL when it was time to vote on May 22.
* Last September, he voted against another Webb bill that would have mandated adequate rest for troops between combat deployments.
* On a badly needed $1.5-billion increase for veterans medical services for fiscal year 2007 -- to be funded through closing corporate tax loopholes -- he voted no. He also voted against establishing a trust fund to bolster under-budgeted veterans hospitals.
* In May 2006, he voted against a $20-billion allotment for expanding swamped veterans medical facilities
* In April 2006, he was one of 13 Senate Republicans who voted against an amendment to provide $430 million for veterans outpatient care.
* In March 2004, he voted against and helped defeat on a party-line vote a $1.8-billion reserve for veterans medical care, also funded by closing tax loopholes.

Humes also discusses McCain's and Obama ratings by various veterans groups:

From 2004 to 2006, the Disabled Veterans of America gave him annual scores ranging from 50% to the most recent 20% when it comes to supporting the group's legislative priorities. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a grade of "D" in its most recent analysis of voting records. The American Legion says he is dead wrong on the GI Bill, as does the Veterans of Foreign Wars. [Obama has an 86% rating from the Disabled Veterans of America.]

Sarah Palin's Facebook

Fake, of course, but very funny! Other people are smarter than I am and have been able to display a larger picture, so check these links: Politico, FrostFireZoo.

McCain pre- and post- Bailout

Brave New Films' latest anti-McCain effort contains clips of McCain on the economy from as much as several years ago up to yesterday.

Roll Call for the Bailout Vote

You can check here to see how your Representative voted.

I am very proud to be represented in Congress by Democrat Patrick Murphy, an Iraq vet. He voted YES.

official percentages voting for bailout:
Democrats = 61%
Republicans = 33%


Monday, September 29, 2008

The next president faces a huge mess

Check out this very interesting article in the NY Times about the transition period between election and inauguration. As in the case of FDR and Hoover, the transition this time will be fraught with difficulty.

This article contains a terrific quote of Ed Rollins, White House political director under Reagon, about the Bush administration: "This isn’t a lame-duck administration. This is a dead-duck administration.”

Transcript of Nancy Pelosi's Speech

It was SO necessary for Nancy Pelosi to give this speech. Number One - to let the Bush Administration know that it wasn't getting away with its atrocious power grab. Number Two - to point out the disastrous policies that led to the necessity for a bailout. Number Three - To state publicly that this would be the last bailout, once and for all that it is not the policy of the US Congress to bail out bad investments. And finally, Number Four - to point out what tremendous sacrifice it would be for Democrats who opposed the policies of the last 8 years to have to step in and bail Bush out.

The speech ends:

As long as in the households of America, this crisis is being felt very immediately and being addressed at a different level, we must come back, and we will come back as soon and as often as it is necessary to make the change that is necessary. And before long we will have a new Congress, a new president of the United States, and we will be able to take our country in a new direction.

I bet it's that last part that upset the Republicans!

Barney Frank tells it like it is

Watching the events of today unfold on the television screen was one of those opportunities to see events as they actually occur as well as partake of the commentary and spin about those events.

My jaw dropped when the renegade Republicans under John Boehner gave their spiel in the halls of Congress about how it was NANCY PELOSI'S fault that the bailout bill failed. My feeling after hearing their "hyper-partisan" speech was that as a Democrat I would earnestly strive to accomplish exactly the OPPOSITE of whatever those gentlemen wanted. Their behavior struck me as barely adult.

But there was no way I could have put it as well as Barney Frank did. When the Democrats finally came out to address the press, it was not standing in a hallway, but at a podium replete with US flags. There was no mention of the rebel Republicans until the question period. Asked about them, Rep. Barney Frank's reply reflected his scorn: "Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country."

Whether you are for or against the bailout, the partisan politics and grandstanding today was nauseating. I would have to agree with the statement put out by Obama rep Bill Burton:

"This is a moment of national crisis, and today's inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington."

Funny how the majority of House Republicans wasn't willing to take a risk for either George Bush or John McCain.

Crisis in Political Leadership

It's not just the rank and file who are carrying grudges from the past.

From the Miami Herald:

America suffering a crisis of political as well as financial leadership
By STEVEN THOMMA, McClatchy Newspapers
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The failure of a proposed Wall Street bailout Monday underscored that America is suffering not just from a financial crisis, but also from a crisis of political leadership.
"This has been a bad day for Washington and a bad day for American politics," said Harold Ford, a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee. "What happened today was an embarrassment for the country."

None of the country's political leaders, Republican or Democrat, has proved able to navigate the treacherous politics of the moment and secure an agreement to bail out the country's financial system and restore confidence in the marketplace.

President Bush is a largely discredited lame duck. He's not trusted by his own party and was unable to bend the Congress to his will even as he warned of a catastrophe if lawmakers rebelled.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his party's congressional leaders control the Congress and agreed with Bush's urgency, but they couldn't deliver a majority, either.
Still, they came closer than did Republican John McCain and his party's leaders in the House of Representatives, who delivered only 30 percent of the GOP votes for the compromise, while Democrats delivered some 60 percent of their members.

Leaders of both parties vowed to seek bipartisan cooperation toward drafting a compromise that could pass, but with their own elections five weeks away, they couldn't stop themselves from partisan attacks, which make the goal of bipartisan agreement even more difficult to reach.
Nowhere is the crisis more evident than it is in the White House.

Bush limps toward the end of his second term with among the lowest job-approval ratings in history - a recent Gallup poll found just 27 percent approving and 69 percent disapproving.
Worse, he's lost credibility in Congress, notably for leading the country into war in Iraq on false claims that Iraq had ties to al Qaida and weapons of mass destruction. When he dispatched Vice President Dick Cheney to lobby House Republicans to support the Wall Street bailout, the closed-door session grew heated, and some members reportedly reminded Cheney that they'd trusted him on Iraq.

Bush also is paying a price for years of strong-arming Congress, particularly when he counted on then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to "hammer" proposals such as a costly expansion of Medicare past skeptical conservatives.

"There's no question the rank-and-file are carrying some grudges from the past," said Dan Schnur, the director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.

A Biblical look at the Bailout

Anyone who was in church in the United States on Sunday, September 21 should have heard the Parable of the Workers in the Field as the Gospel reading. Most mainsteam Protestant churches and the Catholic Church use a common lectionary, so the readings are usually the same.

In the Parable of the Workers in the Field, those who went out to work in the field at 7:00 AM were paid the same as those who went out to work at 5:00 PM. All the workers were paid a fair day's wage, even though some worked many more hours than others. When the early morning workers complained that such a pay system wasn't fair, the landowner replied that they had agreed to work for a fair wage, and he could do what he chose with his money. The closing line of this parable is very familiar: "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matt.20: 1-16)

I just heard a conservative columnist in a discussion with Donna Brazile claim that the bailout was unfair because of some provisions that would allow mortgage principle and payments to be adjusted by the government.This, he claimed, was unfair to those who had honored their mortgages. [For once I was watching TV and didn't catch his name.]

Does this sound familiar? This claim of unfairness is exactly the plaint of the workers in the field! For conservative Republicans, who claim to be church-going, God-fearing people, that stance is distinctly anti-Biblical.

Many Republicans have publicly declared that we are a Christian nation. If this is true, then the parable of the Workers in the Field is perfectly timed for the bailout situation. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

BTW, here is a really good discussion of the Parable of the Workers in the Field from a businessman's perspective.

Obama's Golden Parachute Ad

Here is one that is hard-hitting, but not nasty:


WOW - I read this in the comment section of an ABC News article by George Stephanopoulos and it is true - www.voteforthemilf.com redirects to www.johnmccain.com!

Does this mean that the McCain campaign is endorsing the use of that disgusting epithet about Sarah Palin?

[In the extremely unlikely case that there is an American alive who doesn't know what M.I.L.F. stands for, it means Mom I'd Like to Fornicate with (F$&*).]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A little easy listening for ya

A nice song written about Sarah. Sarah Palin, that is.

Palin to go to Sedona

According to the CNN Political Ticker, "Gov. Sarah Palin will now spend two and a half days near Sedona, Arizona, to prepare for Thursday's debate, instead of prepping in St Louis, as originally planned."

If I were Palin, I'd be worried. Seems to me the best place to cut Palin from the campaign would be where she signed on, Sedona. Things really look bad for the McCain campaign. If they didn't have Palin as a liability, with the bailout looking like a done deal McCain could get back to hammering on Obama as inexperienced. As for his base, they seem to accept whatever they're told (I'll post again the hysterical video from the Daily Show of Rove, Limbaugh, and Pfotenhower contradicting themselves) so it probably wouldn't reflect badly on McCain if Palin "withdraws due to family concerns."

Independents, however, would hopefully question McCain's decision-making if he switches running mates this far into the election.

Here is the Daily Show video:

Some interesting reading today

The NY Times today features an op-ed piece by John S. D. Eisenhower, called "Presidential Children Don't Belong in Battle." Chillingly, it describes how the author had an agreement with his father that he would kill himself before allowing himself to be taken captive. Will Sarah Palin discuss this with her son?

The NY Times also ran a six page investigative report on John McCain's ties to gambling. His knowing that this report was coming, on top of the Times' linking of Rick Davis to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, illuminates McCain aide Steve Schmidt's conference call diatribe against the Times.

The LA Times ran an editorial called "Bush the Arrogant" that blasted Bush for being complicit in the financial crisis and for attempting to foist off on the American public a bailout plan that would justify the expansion of its own power. The financial crisis mirrors the ignorance, greed, and deceit of the Iraq War: " ... in both cases, the pattern is the same. Ineptitude led to crisis; crisis then became the argument for the radical expansion of executive power."

Unfortunately, the Times editorial board refuses to take a stand on which candidate can best resolve the economic crisis. Although they lean toward Obama in their analysis of who will bring about open, intelligent, honest government, they are apparantely awaiting a knight in shining armor to save us all.

There is an essay by Shankar Vedantum in the Washington Post called "My Team vs. Your Team: The Political Arena lives up to its Name" that posits that voters identify with their party in much the same way they support a sports team. Thus moderates, with no team affinity, have a much less clear view of the differences between candidates. Vedantum quotes Gary C. Jacobson, a politicl scientest at UC San Diego: "Party identification is part of your social identity, in the same way you relate to your religion or ethnic group or baseball team."

According to this essay,

"There are certainly people who think carefully about issues before deciding which side to support, but that cannot explain why the electorate has become so intensely polarized on so many unrelated issues. Knowing whether a person is a Republican or a Democrat today tells you far more about their views on many issues than it did in previous eras.

One implication of this thesis is that it makes little difference what positions presidential candidates take on issues. People's views -- on the war, immigration or the economic bailout -- come down largely to their party affiliation. "

Mom of soldier on Obama's bracelet is ECSTATIC

Oh, boy, the Swift Boaters are at it again, BIG TIME. I hope the Obama campaign continues to be as quick at refuting the next smear as they have been with this one:

MILWAUKEE - The mother of a Wisconsin soldier who died in Iraq says she was "ecstatic" when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama mentioned during Friday's debate the bracelet she gave him in honor of her son.Tracy Jopek of Merrill told The Associated Press on Sunday she was honored that Obama remembered Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb.

Jopek criticized Internet reports suggesting Obama, D-Ill., exploited her son for political purposes. "I don't understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet," she said.

The next smear that needs addressing is the use of "truth squads" in Missouri."

Reading the Polls

Used to be, there was a poll telling you what you wanted to hear, no matter which candidate you support. These days, the polls all say Obama leads, and just vary by how big the lead is characterized as. An LA Times headline reads "Obama slightly widens lead after debate, " while over at the Christian Science Monitor's "The Vote" blog, the headline is: "Obama: Big winner in debate says new poll."

David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, often says he pays little attention to polls and keeps focused on the electoral map. Unfortunately, much of the data that goes in to drawing the electoral map comes from polls, although numbers forvoter registration and past turnout are also factored in.

I like polls. I like to click on the "leaning"states in the electoral map to see what the latest polls show. So here are a bunch of sites that show poll results, and what they're currently saying:

USA Today Presidential Poll Tracker: Visually, I don't care for this poll tracker. It is too cluttered, too hard to read. It cites a variety of polls. Today, there are 2 Rasmussen polls, the Gallup daily poll, and the Zogby Internet Poll, all of which show Obama as ahead, by as little as 1 point (Zogby) to as much as 8 points (Gallup.)

Real Clear Politics Poll Averages: Seven polls are posted here, with the RCP (Real Clear Politics) average at the top of the list. The RCP average is Obama +4.8. RCP does list one poll that shows McCain ahead, the GW/Battleground Tracking poll of 1000 leaning voters, which shows McCain ahead by 2 points. (Viewing the GW .pdf file, it shows McCain and Obama tied at 43, but McCain/Palin ahead by two over Obama/Biden).

The Gallup Organization: I like this site because it provides TONS of information in a crisp, clean format. At the upper left of the page is the current daily poll result, which includes the trend. For today, Obama is at 50% (+1) and McCain is at 42% (-2). Results-at-a-glance are also available for polls on subjects from consumer confidence to whether or not people support a bailout.

FiveThirtyEight.com: I just discovered this site, which has national poll numbers, state-wide numbers, an electoral map, and plenty of analysis They show Obama ahead by 4.2 points. The most fun item on this site, though, is the Scenario Analysis table. They give the probability of Obama winning in a landslide as 25.5% !!!

President Polls 2008: This site is a mish-mash table of various polls, some national, some just for individual states.

Pollster.com: This site is nice, as you get two-for-one - it also includes an electoral map. Pollster.com shows Obama ahead overall 48% to 43.8%.


There is some reflection as a result of the debate that the concept of the election as based on "image" as opposed to "issues" is turning into a plus for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.

A comment on the Christian Science Monitor site:

A maverick is a castrated steer that exhibits erratic behavior by wandering away from the herd and getting lost. It can be rounded up and branded by anyone who finds it. If that is what McCain wishes to be, I think it is a fitting label and we should grant him his wish. 158. lorax2 09.28.08

And another one on McCain's personality:

. . . The public is picking up on something the pundits tend to ignore. And I am getting this from many of the comments appearing in this series. They are seeing a side of John McCain they hadn’t seen before–an egotist, a name-dropper, a disrespecter of his opponent–and they aren’t liking it. This would fit with the well-substantiated view that voters pay less attention to issues and more attention to personality than do the political commentators. If the second hypothesis is right,then maybe Obama was wise in holding back. He will have two more opportunities to rattle McCain’s cage enough to get him to reveal his even less pleasant side, his tendency to fly into rage.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Video from the Frank Luntz focus groups in Las Vegas

Obama came out as the winner of the debate according to this focus group of undecided voters. The video is interesting not just in terms of the debate, but it provides a chance to see the actually way the focus group worked.

Obama post-debate Ad

Here is the latest Obama ad. I think it could be a LOT stronger. As some have pointed out, McCain did use the terms "Main Street," which is equivalent to "middle class." ( I agree with those who say enough with the Wall St. vs. Main Street language!)

On Youtube, there are tons of anti-Obama videos from the debate: Obama stuttering, saying "John, you're right," Obama 'copied" McCain's bracelet. But to reiterate the discussion of the previous post, to me these represent arguments from an alternate reality created by the right; a reality where image trumps substance and values trump issues.

Here is the video:

What's wrong with this picture? or, when worlds collide

Today I received an e-mail that was a forward of a forward. It read:

"To my fellow Americans ... I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up. So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend. Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces. If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it... If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General.Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.' But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom? I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC. And remember, this plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returnedinstantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest. "

I don't know how many other people who received the e-mail checked the calculations, only to discover that $85,000,000,000 divided by 200,000,000 only works out to $425, NOT $425,000.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that this type of sloppy thinking powers much of what the Republican right believes in. This is along the lines of Palin's belief that she has Russian foreign policy experience because Alaska is its neighbor. To progressives, the right-wing world view appears so illogical that it must constitute an alternate reality. To me, this is a VERY FRIGHTENING consequence of eight years of the Bush/Rove/Cheney administration's manipulation of the truth. Those who bought into the truth as pushed by Bush (torture is ok, Iraq war was not invasion but liberation, outing Valerie Plame was not political, etc. etc.) ARE INDEED actually living in an alternate reality from those who did not accept the Bush manipulation of truth.

This situation of differing realities for the right and the left may prove to be as deeply divisive as the difference between Sunni and Shi'ia, or Serb and Croat. It is especially insidious because the fundamental tool of convincing - logic - does not transfer well between alternate views of reality. This disconnect is easily seen in the comment section of online blogs, when right-leaning posters lay out their arguments, which are received with total ridicule by progressive posters.

These differing views of reality are like something out of 1984, or from science fiction. If we get another Republican administration, the battle lines will be drawn pretty sharply, and progressives will likely have no choice but to fight for their view of reality. If Obama is elected, we will have the opportunity to see whether or not the right is willing or able to adjust their world view. I think many who cling desperately to their beliefs may experience some kind of meltdown if Obama is elected. Hopefully, the transition period between November 4 and January 20th will provide some decompression time.


After watching the debate last night and seeing Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin, my dad has finally agreed to have an Obama sign for his yard!!! I call that a big win!!!

Jack Cafferty on Sarah Palin

Jack Cafferty didn't pull one single punch when blasting Sarah Palin on Friday. Below is a clip from his show. He says he posted the question "Is Sarah Palin qualifies to be President?" on his CNN blog, and received 12,000 e-mails in 45 minutes! Here is the clip:

One of the 600+ responses on Cafferty's blog reads:
I’m following your request to leave a comment on your blog mainly for one reason: TO SAY THANK YOU! You’ve done something I’m missing in the media, in politic and public life in genaral: Being honest! It is time for the media, and this ultimately means the people working in and for the media, to take a break and think about the responsibility the media carries in a free society. Without the media, the dream dies.

[Jack Cafferty is the perfect illustration of man's advantage over women when it comes to aging - he barely looks any older now than he did when I watched him as a kid.]

Electoral Maps

I will post more on this tomorrow, but from looking at various electoral maps tonight, it seems like Obama just needs to win Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Colorado (assuming he already has Michigan and Wisconsin). These are states in which he's leading in the polls. This would give Obama an electoral vote total of 269. I read somewhere that it is actually 269 that is needed, not 270; I'll have to check this out some more.

UPDATE: The New York Times gives Obama 255 electoral votes, with 227 for McCain and 56 electoral votes a toss up. They show Pennsylvania and Minnesota for Obama, with only 6 toss-up states: New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. Of these, Colorado is the most likely to go to Obama, then possibly Virginia, then New Hampshire.

Most of the newspapers' electoral maps are flash, so they can't be copied and pasted here. But the one I look at the most is the New York Times, and sometimes Real Clear Politics. The Washington Post used to have a different electoral map, I don't like the one they have now. For the presidential election, they show 168 electoral votes leaning for Obama, 174 leaning for McCain, and 196 swing votes. Way to cover your butt by refusing to call anything!

UPDATE: Here is the electoral map from FiveThirtyEight.com at 12:33 AM on Monday, September 29, 2008:

Some more insight into what bothers me about Sarah Palin

Palin's speech at the RNC was downright nasty, mocking and belittling the opinions and abilities of her opponents. OK, that's a political convention, I can forgive you for being "snarky" under those conditions.

Setting aside just for the moment the question of intelligence, Palin is totally engaged in the culture war, the divisive practice of "us" versus "them." So many blogs are talking about Palin's interview with Katie Couric. The Envelope blog on the LA Times asked readers to comment specifically on Couric's question to Palin about why she had not gotten a passport until she was 43. Palin answered: "I'm not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, 'Go off and travel the world.' Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until I had kids. ... I was not part of, I guess, that culture."

The following comment, just as the Betty Bowers piece about Palin "outsourcing" her child-rearing, mirrors what I think (and feel!) about Sarah Palin:

Why can't she just say that she worked, raised a family, never had the opportunity to travel before a year ago. Those would all be personal, valid reasons for not getting a passport before last year.

INSTEAD, she has to mock and criticize those who have gone out and traveled the world. And, excuse me, she was 43(?) when she got her passport? But she mocks people she calls college-age graduates whose 'parents give them a backpack and tell them to see the world.' She's saying that the large number of people who travel abroad are moneyed 'brats' whose parents foot the bill?

Sorry. I worked my way through college, worked two jobs much of my early life, and got a passport when my husband was stationed overseas. I take offense that she her statements seem to mock anyone who chose to get a passport and travel to see the world.
Why is it that Palin and her party make every comment, make every statement about someone with a different view, a derogatory comment? Their party is about divisiveness and hatred and she is a prime example of it.

Posted by: bush5186
September 26, 2008 at 11:41 AM

If Palin were allowed to be herself, might we see less snarkiness, maybe more actual insight as opposed to talking points??? Well, maybe not. But everyone, everywhere, even conservative columnists, now seem to agree that Sarah Palin is a terrible choice for VP.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Night in America

[Better Debate Night than Football Night - the name CORVALLIS strikes fear and hatred in my heart. FIGHT ON!]

Well, except for the Drudge Report (what a surprise) the post-debate polls all show Obama as having "won" the debate.

The Drudge Report shows McCain won with 66% to Obama's 32%, with 192,559 voters.

The Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama won 60.5% to 33%, with 12, 237 voters.

Michigan Live's poll shows Obama winning 73% to McCains 26% with 30,3059 voters.

Fort Worth Star Telegram shows Obama won 66% to McCain's 34%, with 6209 voters.

CBS news poll of 483 undecided voters showed 39% felt Obama won, 24% McCain won, 37% felt it was a tie.

According to UPI, CNN's online poll drew more than 80,500 votes, 67 % of which went to Obama compared to 28 % for McCain; while a similar NBC survey drew more than 291,000 clicks and gave Obama the win with 51 % compared to 35 % for McCain, while 7.8 % said they weren't sure and 6.3 % called it a draw.

Best of all, a YOU poll with 1205 voters showed 93% felt Obama won the debate.

Sarah Palin gets a T.O. welcome at the Irish Pub

Fun to be in Philly tonight! Protestors gathered outside the Irish Pub, where Sarah Palin was going before returning to her hotel to watch the debates.

Ireport has a video posted of people jeering at Palin's motorcade, yelling, and waving signs. One comment to the post reads:
phillyfeelme // 53 minutes ago
Welcome to Philadelphia Palin. This is what we call the "Terrell Owens" treatment.

For once "Give 'Em Hell Harry" comes through

The McCain campaign has been whining that McCain returned to Washington on the invitation of Harry Reid, who, they claim, then took the opportunity to lambast McCain for interfering in the negotiations.

Well, Harry set them straight today:

"It's time for House Republicans to come to the negotiating table and for presidential politics to leave the negotiating table," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this morning. "I asked for (Sen. McCain) to take a stand on the issue. But all he has done is stand in front of the cameras. We still don't know where he stands on the issue."

The whole issue of partisanship has now clouded the bailout negotiations. Nancy Pelosi has refused to put a bill on the table that doesn't have at least 100 Republican votes in its favor. This would mean a truly bipartisan bill that should not have extensive backlash at the polls in November. Republicans, however, are calling on Pelosi to put the bill on the table even without Republican support.

Campaign statements on Washington Mutual

Here are the McCain and Obama campaigns statements on the buy-out of Washington Mutual. Which seems more presidential to you???

McCain's Statement:

"Today's financial crisis threatens all Americans and the sale of Washington Mutual is just the latest indicator of the stresses in our financial markets that threaten to cut off the credit needed by our families, businesses, and state and local governments. I am committed to working with all parties of good faith in both houses of Congress, the Administration, and among Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement to stabilize our financial markets. We can do so in a timely and effective fashion while protecting the taxpayer from excessive demands on their strained checkbooks. It is our obligation to restore the confidence of Americans in these valuable institutions, and demonstrate to taxpayers that Washington will be capable of addressing great national problems." "

Obama’s Statement

"The government-brokered sale of Washington Mutual is the latest sign of the perilous situation facing our financial system and our economy. Although Americans with deposits at Washington Mutual should rest assured that they are safe under this arrangement, the failures of our financial institutions threaten economic instability, jobs, and the incomes of American families. This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. This is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem – this is an American problem. Now, we must find an American solution."

Foreign leaders' questions for tonight's debate

The NY Times today ran an illuminating piece called "What the World Wants to Know" on what questions foreign leaders would ask at tonight's foreign policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. This international perspective is so often missing from news coverage in the US. The failure of the US media to present ideas from different world views is, I believe, one of the main causes of the "America First" attitude that views America to be on a level exalted above other nations of the world.

Example question:

"How would you work to restructure the United Nations to make it more representative as well as more effective? Clearly, the makeup of the Security Council is anachronistic. Would you support the expansion of its permanent membership to include (among other countries) Brazil, India, Japan and South Africa?"
RAMACHANDRA GUHA, the author of “India After Gandhi”

The Washington Post also a nice article on the debates, called "8 Questions about the Debates."

Say What?

For a laugh and a dose of indignation, check out the NY Times Editorial Board page - they have posted Sarah Palin's comments to Katie Couric about Alaska's proximity to Russia in their "Say What?" Department. Also interesting commentary on McCain pulling out of the debate.

For some not funny commentary in the Say WHAT??? department, read Times Editorial Observer Dorothy Samuels piece on rape victims in Wasilla having to PAY FOR THEIR RAPE KITS: Wasilla Watch: Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits.

The candidacy of John McCain and Sarah Palin has succeeded in blurring the line between reality and satire. Each day a new and different unbelieveable aspect of McCain/Palin is uncovered. It is not only disturbing and unsettling that McCain/Palin hold these beliefs (victims paying for rape kits, the fundamentals of the economy are strong) but that there are millions of Americans out there who understand and accept their bizarre point of view as reality.

The abiding image of this financial crisis: TIES

Looking at the picture of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in the NY Times online this morning, the first thing that struck me was their ties. In a somber setting, in their otherwise somber attire, both men were wearing colorful ties. In other pictures taken during recent days, the flash of color from the participants' ties has been striking.

Could this be because the only female participant in this crisis and its attendant negotiations is Nancy Pelosi? We've gotten used to seeing women's more colorful clothing balancing men's ties in political photographs. But during this financial crisis, women participants have been on the downlow. So the little flaps of colorful fabric men wear around their necks have to bear the burden of distinguishing one dark-suited pol from another. The bursts of red and blue, paisley (not so much) stripes (proving popular) provide the sole contrast to the dark suits worn during this time of crisis.

Take a look:

Mitch Dumke/Reuters

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Observing Ramadan - pictorial by the Boston Globe

This is not political, doesn't involve the election, but be sure to look at this beautiful pictorial in the Boston Globe - Observing Ramadan. The pictures are amazing, beautiful, moving, and thought-provoking shots of Muslims all around the world and the different ways they observe Ramadan. The comments at the end are especially moving. Maybe this will win a Pulitzer Prize.

Just one of the many pictures:

Kashmiri Muslims offer prayers inside the Jamia Masjid, or Grand Mosque, on the first Friday of Ramadan in Srinagar, India, Friday, Sept. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #

Conservative Republicans want REGULATORY RELIEF???

According to Reuters, a small group of conservative House Republicans has drafted an alternate bailout plan, which they propose instead of the Bush Administration's $700 billion bailout. As summarized by Reuters, the one-page plan would focus on mortgage insurance to be sold by the US Treasury. The plan also "... called for temporary tax cuts and regulatory relief for businesses. In addition, financial institutions participating in the proposed program would have to disclose more about their mortgage asset holdings. "

It is not enough that McCain's grandstanding and interference appear to have helped tank a bipartisan adaptation of the Paulson proposal. Leave it to conservative Republicans to respond to a situation created by lack of regulation by pressing for regulatory relief.

While many news sources have not described McCain as supporting the House Republicans' plan, the Reuters report quotes Henry Waxman as saying that it "seems like (McCain) embraced Jeb Hensarling's position ... It's a completely different approach," Waxman said. "It's hard to imagine where we go from here."

Text of Barney Frank's proposed bailout legislation

From the website of the House Committee on Financial Services, here is the beginning of Rep. Barney Frank's proposed legislation. It sounds pretty reasonable to me, with many of the provisos mentioned by candidates and the press included.

2 (a) FINDINGS.—The Congress finds that— (1) the current United States financial crisis necessitates immediate action to stabilize the financial system, restore liquidity to financial institutions and the capital markets, protect savings and pensions, and preserve the availability of credit for individuals and businesses; (2) actions taken to protect consumers and minimize mortgage foreclosures are equally important objectives in promoting a resolution to this crisis and will minimize any losses and maximize the ultimate return to the taxpayer on assets purchased under this program; and (3) existing financial regulatory structures have clearly failed either to prevent the current crisis or to protect United States consumers and investors,
4 and comprehensive regulatory reform is required to restore confidence in financial markets and institutions going forward.

(b) PURPOSES.— The purposes of this Act are— (1) to immediately provide authority and facilities that the Secretary of the Treasury can use to restore liquidity and stability to United States financial markets; (2) to ensure that this authority and these facilities are used in a manner that minimizes mortgage foreclosures, maximizes the ability of United States homeowners to remain in their homes, protects individual investors, including retirement fund
investors, and minimizes initial costs and maximizes overall returns to United States taxpayers;
(3) to review, on an expedited basis, the ways that deficiencies and gaps in the current financial
regulatory system contributed to the current crisis; and (4) to act as quickly as possible to comprehensively restructure the United States financial regulatory system to protect consumers and homeowners, reform the mortgage lending and securitization process, enhance the transparency and fairness in financial markets, and ensure the future stability of the
financial system.

Hysterical McCain/Palin campaign signs on Daily Kos

Check out the really funny campaign signs at the Daily Kos. It looks like it really is becoming common knowledge that Sarah Palin is just not competent; bloggers are saying that ditching her from the campaign will be McCain's next "Hail Mary."

Here are a couple of the funniest campaign signs:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Economics Professors Unite in Opposition to Bush Bailout

Initiated at the University of Chicago, over a hundred economics professors have signed a statement protesting the $700 billion finanical bailout plan as proposed by the Bush Administration. The statement reads:

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function.

We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan: 1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America's dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.
Signed (updated 9/24/2008 10:30AM CT)

Professors from universities attended by Wong Family members (past and present)
Georgetown University = 0
University of Wisconsin = 1
University of Chicago = 42 (including 2 Nobel Laureates)
University of Southern California = 1
University of Pennsylvania = 14
University of California - Berkeley = 7

Katie Couric has a busy night

Looks like all the action's on CBS tonight. First, John McCain stood up Dave Letterman, ostensibly because he's "jumping on a plane to return to Washington." BUT Dave tracked him down as he was getting his makeup on to appear with Katie Couric. Letterman EXCORIATED McCain - who he says is a true American hero - for standing him up. Letterman then said if McCain had to rush back to Washington, he should have had his vice-presidential candidate step up to take over the campaign. We all know where that goes. Then, just to rub some salt in that wound, Letterman brought on Keith Olbermann in McCain's stead. You can watch Letterman's monologue "Where's John McCain?" here. As CBS bills it, "it ain't pretty!"

Couric did just a fair job interviewing McCain. Unlike Campbell Brown has done, she did not attempt to rebut McCain's hackneyed responses, such as "if Obama would have done the Town Hall Meetings." She also didn't ask McCain why HE is so important to the effort to resolve the conomic crisis.

Here is the video of Couric's interview with McCain:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Then we check out the video of Katie's interview with Sarah Palin. If you didn't know this was real, you would think it was straight out of Saturday Night Live. Palin says Americans are just waiting to see what John McCain will do to solve the financial crisis, never mind those pesky polls that Americans trust Obama more when it comes to economics.

Obama will debate

Here is video from CNN of Barack Obama explaining why he thinks it is important for the debates to take place as scheduled:

What is behind McCain's move to cancel or postpone the debate? Did Sarah Palin do so poorly in her meetings with foreign heads of state that there is no hope for her in a debate? Or is this truly a last ditch effort by McCain to stop Obama's momentum?

MCain wants to cancel debate: comments

I have been reading the comments on various websites about John McCain's latest campaign tactic: pulling out of the presidential debate. The LA Times, whose articles (though mostly pro-Obama) have a comment ratio of about 50-50 Obama and McCain supporters, is running about 20 to 4 comments in favor of Obama. The NY Times is running about 100 to 4 in favor of Obama.

Those four who are holding up John McCain as a sterling example of patriotic presidential material must be the ones who are getting paid per post - who else could possibly post such drivel?

Read this one from the LAT: (don't you just love the user name?)

Pelosi and Reid just dont cut it against Newt and Arnold.Imposters Obama and Biden just want to carry on withtheir rancid dog and pony show while McCain wants to put the people and their economic concerns first. America, take a deep breath and cut the cancerous duothat threatens our most sacred values....managers ofshocking vice and spreaders of spiritual pestilence a laJoseph Stalin.
Posted by:
We take no prisoners and eat the wounded September 24, 2008 at 03:33 PM

[This is too much excitement for me in the last 24 hours: David Cook's new single, Detroit finally fires Matt Millen, and McCain backs out of debate.]

Letters to the Editor

I have participated in Letters to the Editor campaigns before, several kinds. In the normal ones, you get an e-mail from a group giving you facts on an issue, then asking you to write a letter to the editor about the issue. Often you can select which paper or papers you want the letter to go to.

I've also participated in campaigns where you write letters to the editor and they are submitted to various papers around the country by local people who sign their names to the letter you've written.

BUT I never participated in a campaign where you use FAKE and IMAGINARY personae to write the letters. The McCain campaign's use of this type of "fictional" letter to the editor is detailed in an article posted on Salon. (Thanks, Sara for sending it) The article is called "I ghost-wrote letters to the editor for the McCain campaign" and contains links to actual fictional letters to the editor.

Never a dull moment in this campaign!

Campbell Brown hits another HOME RUN

UPDATE: IMHO Campbell Brown is the new hero of the free world. Here is the video of her call to FREE SARAH PALIN:

Here is a panel discussion on the same issue of restricting the press' access to Palin. Dana Milbank redeems himself slightly from his creepiness by pointing out in the video that Palin met with leaders the same day as Biden released his EIGHT PAGE list of world leaders he has met with.

Barbara Ehrenreich: optimism vs. realism

Writing about the causes of the recent economic meltdown in the US, Barbara Ehrenreich mentions, in addition to greed and speculation, "the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking. "

I think this optimism is really the outward manifestation of what I attribute America's collapse to: lack of higher level thinking skills. This lack of ability to analyze, synthesize, interpret, etc. explains why 14 million people are willing to listen to Rush Limbaugh. It explains why so many Americans can't understand why Michelle Obama might not be proud of her country. It explains why 30% of Americans believe that Iraq was responsible for 9/11 or that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

The "delusional" part is as important as the "optimism" part. Americans - even members of the "Greatest Generation" - can't handle bad news. Can't handle the thought that they can't have their cake, eat it, too, and that American cake is better than any other country's cake, especially France.

Delusional optimism and lack of higher level thinking skills - what else could explain Americans' unwillingness to HEAR facts, much less THINK about them? Or ACT on them.

How Many Buses?

Sometimes the comments posted to a story on the internet are more pithy and interesting than the story itself. A case in point are these two comments posted on AlterNet in response to a story called "Press Frustration with McCain Bubbles Over" :

How Many Buses?
Posted by: ProgressiveManiac on Sep 24, 2008 5:42 AM
He has 7 - 9 Homes, 13 cars, it is reasonable to ask how many buses this man has.
There is the old, and apparently now retired straight-talk express, and the more recently acquired forked-tongue express, and apparently now he has the no-talk express to add to his collection.
Just how many are there?

Posted by: chuckjs on Sep 24, 2008 3:46 AM This man and his campaign are a joke. Has it even crossed the minds of the apparent simpletons running this campaign that when you cut off press access to your candidate then it only makes logical sense that the press will go to the candidate willing to talk to them and give their stories.Obama's lopsided coverage is a direct result of McCain's media policy! And it is not lopsided but more like the only story available due to Republican media blackouts.

Betty Bowers - America's Best Christian - Interviews Sarah Palin

I received this in my e-mail this morning. Betty can sometimes be pretty snarky, but with this one she is right on! This appraisal is the one that best fits why I personally am bothered by Sarah Palin.

Betty Bowers Interviews Sarah Palin

Last night, I interviewed Sarah Palin for "The No Sin Zone." And it didn't go well. Frankly, the ratio of pit-bull to Mary Kay was shockingly steep. Coming off her smarmily inept ABC interview with "Charlie" (a name now welded to my consciousness, as if by a nervously wielded pneumatic rivet gun), I suspect Sarah thought she was in for the type of pragmatic obliviousness that springs from a "Winning First" approach to facts. And the notion that reality should spring from party politics, not the other way around. Truly, it's been a long time -- OK, 4 years! -- since a politician so ruthlessly benefited from "values voters" turning a carefully choreographed once-censorious, now-blind e ye to any value other than not spending the next four years with the name of a loser on their bumper.

Fortunately, I have the gift of discerning coy sins less careful Christians -- and my inattentive Savior -- routinely overlook. And as founder of
Bringing Integrity To Christian Homemakers, one sin pings my values radar louder than an incoming sortie of foul smelling demons: Narcissistic parents who irresponsibly spit out babies they have neither the interest nor time to care about. That's the problem with people who regard birth as simply the end of a pregnancy, rather than the beginning of a life. Birth marks the start of work, not a self-congratulatory furlough. Absent through either a preoccupation with stoking a ravenous blast furnace of an ego (Mrs. Palin) or simply because he'd rather be fishing (Mr. Palin), the Palins selfishly make a shambles of their children's lives. Drugs, sex, alcoho l, vendetta's and arrests! Honestly, it all sounds a bit like Gossip Girl, only in a pioneer setting with a wardrobe by Sears. [or Gore-Tex]

What is most telling about all this is not that abandoned teenagers sometimes make bad choices, but that they are not always the most irresponsible people in the house. Mr. & Mrs. Palin responded to missteps by teenage strangers in their house by shipping them both off to live with someone with more time or patience for undergoing the bother of raising children. The daughter was sent to live with an aunt. And the son was jetted off to live with a family in Michigan! Honestly, do any of you believe American jobs would be safe under a President Palin, someone who outsources even her own parenting?

Well, the gals at B.I.T.C.H. don't go for that slapdash approach to the well being of America's children! We are rather concerned that Sarah is running as a "Hockey Mom" and a "PTA Mom," but when anyone dares to look into what type of "Mom" she actually is, we are told that her children's lives -- and the trail of discarded beer and OxyContin bottles behind them -- are private, personal and not to be used for politics. That is, of course, unless their "Me First!" mother needs them as casting call props, either in photo ops or her endless, shamelessly opportunistic reminders that her eldest son has enlisted -- and they had a "ceremony" in case the point was lost. Given the arresting circumstances that provoked such an enlistment (probably greeted with the same enthusiasm Bristol's boyfriend is now regarding being drafted into marriage), you would think Sar ah would at least have the grace to blush each time she merchandises either her parenthood or patriotism.

So Close to Jesus, I Can Flirt Because He Knows it Isn't Going Anywhere,
Mrs. Betty Bowers
America's Best Christian

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF: David Cook's 'Light On' is ONLINE NOW!!!!

David Cook's first single since "Time of my Life" is posted online here. I LOVE IT!!! It is a beautiful, haunting song, full of yearning. A poster on the Popeaters site said:

10:02 PMSep 24 2008
The first thing that I thought of when i listened to the lyrics of this remarkable song, is all the Soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan who left loved ones behind "Try to leave a light on when i'm gone, even in the daylight, shine on".....appropriate words for a Soldier telling his wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend that their love, and knowing that someone at home is waiting for them, is what will get them through anything they may face.Kudos to Chris Cornell for penning such incredible lyrics, and to David Cook for delivering these words so powerfully.

What do you think of David Cook's 'Light On'?
I love it!

I hate it.

It's okay.
Total Votes: 37,905

Joe Biden's list of foreign heads of state he's met with - more than 150!

On the day that Sarah Palin finally met her first head of state, Senator Joe Biden's office released the list of foreign heads of state and other governmental bodies (i.e. UN, NATO) that he's met with. The "partial" list is 8 pages long and names more than 150 leaders.

Here's the link to the list: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/23/meetings_with_foreign_leaders.html

Hillary: Instead of asking each other 'Who are you for?' ask, 'Who is for you?'

My dad called at noon to let me know I was hearing it from him first: He believes that the blowback from Biden's gaffes - as when he said he thought an Obama ad was 'terrible' - would result in him being pulled from the ticket and replaced with Hillary.

On the Early Show this morning, Hillary said:

I've campaigned all over for Barack," she said. "I've been to Florida, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, from, you know, New Hampshire to California, and I always say to people, "I know how interested you are in this election, but instead of asking each other 'Who are you for?' ask, 'Who is for you?' And there isn't any other answer except Barack Obama and Joe Biden."

Obama reiterated that he is

"a great admirer of Sen. Clinton's," he said. "And she has been extraordinary in her support of our campaign. She's been campaigning with me. . . . She's a close, close advisor and hopefully will be that going forward. Joe Biden is also an outstanding public servant and I am very proud of the choice that I made."

Read the whole story at the LA Times.

George Will on John McCain

Wow - no holds barred here! In his Washington Post article, "McCain Loses His Head," Will starts off by quoting Lewis Carroll:

"The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said without even looking around." -- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Will concludes the article by virtually endorsing Obama for President:

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

"The cleaner the better, and the quicker the better"

The Bush White House is making one last contribution to the wealthy elite who have been running his administration - a $700 billion golden parachute.

In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank writes in the Sketch:

Bush issued a statement yesterday warning lawmakers not to "insist on provisions that would undermine the effectiveness of the plan," and White House press secretary Dana Perino, asked about Democrats' plans to limit executive compensation, advised them to pass the legislation as Paulson proposed it, "the cleaner the better, and the quicker the better."

Chris Dodd almost bought this, thanks to the horror film presentation Paulson made in meeting with Congressional leaders over the weekend. At least Barney Frank was paying attention:

Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House banking committee, made his way into the House media gallery to face 75 reporters yesterday afternoon. The hard-hearted chairman hitched up his trousers, took his seat, and showed no remorse toward the CEOs who stood to lose so much.

"The Endangered Species Act apparently does not apply to financial institutions," he joked, cruelly.

He vowed, callously, that there will be "no golden parachutes while we are the owners" of Wall Street firms' bad debts.

"It's inconceivable that people would say the taxpayer should put some money at risk because of bad decisions made by people who would then continue to be rewarded without any restriction and, in fact, would be rewarded for their mistakes," the merciless chairman argued.

He then cynically turned Paulson's defense of the Wall Street executives upside down. "Let me defend CEOs against
Hank Paulson's attack on them," Frank said with feigned sincerity. "Here is this absolutely essential program that's needed to keep the economy going, but there are CEOs who won't participate in it if a few of their many millions are going to get nicked? That's really what he's saying, that some CEOs put their ability to get unrestricted excessive compensation, including rewards for failure, over and above trying to cooperate and help the economy. If that's true, we're in worse shape than we think."

It was a brazen attempt to exploit the suffering of the CEOs, but it was irresistible to Frank's fellow Democrats.

"If you're taking a federal dollar to bail yourself out, you ought to get a federal salary," Sen.
Jim Webb (Va.) said on the Senate floor.

"It is wrong to have executives who have created all kinds of problems and cost the taxpayer millions, if not billions, then walk away with golden parachutes,"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meredith Viera gets tough with McCain on "Golden Parachutes"

You go, girl! Meredith Viera held McCain's feet to the fire as he tried to disclaim any knowledge of Fiorina's $45 MILLION severance package and stock buyout, all while Hewlett Packard fired 20,000 employees.

Here's the video:

You know I have a soft spot for Meredith as she also is a big David Cook Fan. Here is THAT video:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Supreme Court - presidential election has grave implications

A September 20th NY Times editorial lays out its interpretation of the candidates' positions vis a vis the Supreme Court in an editorial, the gist of which is that John McCain would appoint radically conservative justices committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade; while Obama would likely appoint moderately liberal justices. The closing lines of the editorial are a tocsin that this election is vitally important for more than just issues like the economy and foreign policy:

"That means that if Mr. Obama is elected, he might merely keep the court on its current moderately conservative course. Under Mr. McCain, if a liberal justice or two or three steps down, we may see a very different America."

Bernie Sanders - why a blank check is wrong

Sen. Bernie Sanders has written a great article called The Middle Class Must Not Be Forced to Bail Out Wall Street Greed that explains what American taxpayers have a right to expect from a bailout plan. He has great suggestions as to what the bailout package should include to protect the average American and to help taxpayers recoup the money invested by the government in the bailout.

The best line is at the end:

"These are the last days of the Bush administration, the most dishonest and incompetent in modern American history. It is imperative that, at this important moment, Congress stand up for the middle class and for fiscal integrity. The future of our country is at stake."

Obama says "NO BLANK CHECK"

Obama's speech in Charlotte today highlights just what I love about him. He doesn't start out slinging mud, laying blame. He just tells it like it is. His best line: "The said they wanted the economy to run free. Instead they let it run wild." Contrast that to the video posted below that, where an ABC Roundtable discusses John McCain.

Obama speaks in Charlotte on the Big Bailout:

Check out this video of Sunday's ABC Roundtable, which contrasts Obama's and McCain's reactions to the economic meltdown - even George Will dumps on McCain!

Tucker Bounds thrashed again ...

Remember Tucker Bounds, the one who couldn't list for Campbell Brown any of Sarah Palin's foreign policy qualifications? Well he was clinging to the bottom of the bus again today on an appearance on MSNBC. Asked if he could deny that Phil Gramm would be appointed as Secretary of the Treasury in a McCain administration, he could not give a straight answer. Watch the video - again it would be funny if it were not so important.

Some thoughts on the BIG BAILOUT

James Moore's posting on the Huffington Post, called 'A Nation of Village Idiots' has this frightening fact:

"The public bailout of insurance giant (becoming a dwarf) AIG is estimated at $85 billion. According to one report, that's more than the Bush administration spent on Aid to Families with Dependent Children during his entire time in office. That amount of money would also pay for health care for every man, woman, and child in America for at least six months. "

Credo Action (Formerly Working Assets) sent the following information in an e-mail today:

Congress is on the brink of making a one-sided deal to give George W. Bush a blank check to bail out his pals - offering nearly (or perhaps more than) a trillion taxpayer dollars to Wall Street to cover its bad debts. That works out to somewhere between $2000 and $5000 from every American family.

So what do the taxpayers get in return? Nothing. No new regulation or oversight to help avoid this kind of crisis in the future. No public interest givebacks to help people whose homes are in the hands of the banks. Perhaps most shockingly of all, the taxpayers get absolutely no share in the profits if and when these finance giants bounce back, even though we are now assuming a great deal of the risk.

This is worse than a bad deal - this isn't a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world. There is some good news, though: Congress doesn't have to agreet to a blank check. Instead, it can choose to impose a few sensible conditions on the bailout to ensure that it will be used responsibly.

Why should we lose our homes so the CEOs can keep theirs? If Wall Street doesn't like these conditions, then it is welcome to find private investors to help it out of this debacle. But if the American people are going to take this hit, then we must have a say in the terms of the deal - even if we don't have an army of high-paid lobbyists at our disposal like they do. Congress must take swift and prudent action to avoid making a burgeoning crisis that much worse.

Here is the link where you can sign the petition to make your voice heard to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Finance Chair Barney Frank, Senate Banking Chair Chris Dodd, and the de facto leaders of the two parties: Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. As elected officials, these people are all responsible to the taxpayers, not the Wall Street firms who line their campaign war chests. Please take action today.