October 2008 Archives

On Winning

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Effete Liberals, Bomaye - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"No one has conspired to deprive us of power over the past few decades. The American people aren't stupid. We've sucked at articulating our message. If you have any interest in a more progressive country, we need to be honest. At the presidential level, at least, conservatives have hammered us. Give them their due. Don't blame Rush. Don't blame Kristol. Don't denigrate states you've never visited. Give them their due. Give them their respect. Study them, and then get better."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic.)

Finally, to hear someone else speak some truth! Obama shows there is a difference between democracy and getting things done.

All That Hate

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This is why all that hate mongering is dangerous. It is a double-edged sword.

YouTube - Attacked by a McCain Supporter!

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YouTube - Attacked by a McCain Supporter!:

""

(Via YouTube.)

Man, YouTube cats are fast!

Apple earnings, profits, and cash embarrass Microsoft — RoughlyDrafted Magazine:

"While Microsoft executives like to talk about Apple as an insignificant company with less than 5% of the worldwide market share of all PCs and servers sold, the company now has more cash than Microsoft and earns more than half of its profits and over three fourths Microsoft’s revenues."

(Via RoughlyDrafted Magazine.)

Minimum Wage Impacts on Employment: A Look at Indiana, Illinois, and Surrounding Midwestern States:

"These patterns in job growth between 2003 and 2005 indicate that Illinois' increasing minimum wage rates did not reduce overall employment growth for private employers and preliminary statistical analyses confirm this lack of an impact"

(Via Indiana University.)

Once again we see how ideology is soft-think. This is has been proven over and over, yet we see no public discussion on this at the pragmatic level. Just ideological back and forth. "Fairness" vs. "Jobs." Whatever. Try "reality."

AP INVESTIGATION: Palin pipeline terms curbed bids - Yahoo! News:

"Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration"

(Via Yahoo! News.)

The closer you look, the less mavericky she gets. Palin is more politician than maverick.

Sick the Visiting

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This guy is sick. I actually thought that Obama's visit to his ailing, perhaps mortally, grandmother would be sacrosanct. Not so apparently. More damage control for the GOP.

Opie has a Happy Day

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Ron Howard's Call To Action from Ron Howard and Henry Winkler:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

(Via Funny or Die.)

Happy Days.

Keeping it Real America

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Understanding Real America in Wasilla | The Daily Show | Comedy Central:

""

(Via The Daily show.)

Jon Stewart can be stinging. Lesson to politicians: never try to win with a comedian.

MacDailyNews - Apple surpasses goal of 10 million iPhones sold in 2008; outsells RIM in September quarter:

"'I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone... I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful)... So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction: I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008.' - Richard Sprague, Microsoft Senior Marketing Director, January 18, 2007"

(Via MacDailyNews.)

Absolute comedy.

What Will Wall Street Look Like in the Fall of 2009? -- New York Magazine:

"And while any president will be an improvement over the current one, there is a growing belief on Wall Street that Barack Obama has the capacity to lead us out of this wilderness while John McCain does not. I’ll go a step further: Obama is a recession. McCain is a depression.


Wall Street usually favors Republicans when it comes to managing the economy, but this time around the financial community is skeptical. John McCain has done everything he can to avoid talking about the economy, lest he be tarred with the brush of George Bush’s ineptitude. And when McCain has attempted to step into the fray, he’s been far from reassuring. First, he insisted that the fundamentals of the economy were sound; then he turned around and told us it was the end of the economic world as we know it, and suspended his campaign to scramble back to Washington and save the day on the bailout bill—only to have little visible effect. For all his talk of being a maverick, McCain looks an awful lot like President Bush on the credit crisis: He doesn’t seem to understand Wall Street or Main Street, he is dogmatically anti-regulation, and his economic team is a joke. "

(Via New York Magazine.)

Boo yah!!!

Powell Drops a Bomb

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`Anti-American' comments hurt Minn. rep's campaign - Yahoo! News:

"Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann spent months building her profile through appearances on 'Larry King Live' and other TV talk shows. It took only a few minutes of airtime, and one disparaging remark about Barack Obama, to undo it."

(Via Yahoo! News.)

She walked right into it on Hardball. Too many interviews with a net on Faux News, I guess. But Powell, in the following video, crushes her comments. Ouch.

What Kind of Red are We Talking About?

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Incoherence - Swampland - TIME:

"John McCain had a fabulously loony weekend, flipping out charges and attacks like a mud tornado. The truly remarkable thing about McCain's attacks, especially on Obama's economic policies, is that McCain, in each case, is 'guilty' of supporting some version of the policies he's attacking"

(Via Swampland - TIME.)

In these cynical times, it's easy to expect hypocrisy from our politicians. It's a bona fide occupational hazard. But there are times when even a politician has broken faith. This is a great piece slamming some of McCain's more egregious hypocrisies of late.

Obama revels in Powell endorsement and cash mountain - Yahoo! News:

"His backing came as the Obama campaign announced a fundraising take of more than 150 million dollars last month, demolishing its previous record of 66 million set in August."

(Via yahoo! News.)

The market has spoken and Powell along with it.

Op-Ed Columnist - Gordon Does Good - NYTimes.com:

"As I said, we still don’t know whether these moves will work. But policy is, finally, being driven by a clear view of what needs to be done. Which raises the question, why did that clear view have to come from London rather than Washington?"

(Via NY Times op-Ed.)

Ideology is soft-think.

PolitiFact | Not a radical group, and Ayers didn't run it:

"This attack is false, but it's more than that – it's malicious. It unfairly tars not just Obama, but all the other prominent, well-respected Chicagoans who also volunteered their time to the foundation. They came from all walks of life and all political backgrounds, and there's ample evidence their mission was nothing more than improving ailing public schools in Chicago. Yet in the heat of a political campaign they have been accused of financing radicalism. That's Pants on Fire wrong."

(Via Politifact.com.)

Still bald faced lying. Truly desperate.

Dealing with the Devil

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YouTube - McCain Booed For Calling Obama A "Decent Man":

(Via YouTube.)

After about a week of letting Palin make outrageous attacks against Obama and getting into the game himself, it looks like chickens coming home to roost for John McCain. You can't make a deal with the devil and get off scott free. His campaign now employs Charlie Condon, the same guy from Bush's 2000 campaign who made disgusting racial smears against McCain. And we know how that turned out. McCain sold his soul to the devil, and is now trying to reverse course after he's starting to take heat for some of the worst hateful speech we've seen in campaigns in quite some time. I'm willing to believe that McCain's change is more a matter of principle than political expediency, but it's too little, too late. The train has left the station. McCain is now the candidate who is supported by racists and xenophobes. Sure it's but a small sliver of his base, but that's not how it looks. And in this game, looks matter. I feel bad for him but this is the price you pay for dealing with the Devil.

Anger consumes John McCain support as poll gap widens - Times Online:

"Events this week have been marked by ugly outbursts from crowds. In Clearwater, Florida, shouts of ‘kill him!’ could be heard amid a chorus of boos when Mrs Palin attacked the Democratic nominee over his links with 1960s radical, Bill Ayers.

Journalists were reported to have been taunted with obscenities or racial insults from members of audience when Mrs Palin blamed the ‘mainstream media’ for what she described as her ‘less-than-successful’ - and much-parodied - television interviews.

At a rally on Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mr McCain asked: ‘Who is the real Barack Obama?’ A man in crowd screamed back the reply: ‘Terrorist!’"

(Via Times Online.)

It's turning ugly. My question is why not speak against such outbursts when they happen or perhaps later? Truly frightening these two.

CNN Covers Palin Rape Kit Story (VIDEO)

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CNN Covers Palin Rape Kit Story (VIDEO):

(Via The Huffington Post.)

I first heard about this on The Daily Show and was pretty shocked. It's a pretty crazy situation and disturbing. Not a smart move to attract women voters.

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - Fact Check: Is Obama ‘palling around with terrorists’? « - Blogs from CNN.com:

"Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now 'palling around,' or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are."

(Via CNN Political Ticker.)

Palin supporters call her "real." My question is: Real what? Nasty? Liar? Honorless? A candidate for the presidency with terrorists? I can't even say it without laughing.

What's the Difference?

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So Palin can speak in complete sentences. She still knows nothing about foreign policy. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine:

"More to the point, he noted that McCain has never explained how his policies would differ from Bush's on Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, or Iraq. In other words, even if Palin is right that 2009 is Year Zero, what would she and her No. 1 do differently? She didn't answer the question, any more than McCain ever has, perhaps because there is no answer."

(Via Slate.com.)

About the only thing the McCain smacks of change is it's slogan which has as the campaign wears on. Now it's, "Change is Coming." Barack Obama is winning in the polls so I guess he's right.

Why I Trust FactCheck.org

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I received this in the email today.

Dear Subscriber:

We have retracted a portion of our article, "FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate," and have posted the following correction:

Correction Oct 3: This article originally faulted Biden for saying that McCain had voted "the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. We said that McCain was absent for the vote and so didn't vote at all. Biden was however correct.

McCain did vote against the troop-funding bill in question, H.R. 1591, on March 29, 2007, when it originally cleared the Senate. The vote to which we referred, and which McCain missed, was a later vote on the House-Senate compromise version of the same bill, on April 26, 2007. McCain opposed the bill, which Obama supported, because it contained language calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Biden was responding to Palin's accusation that "Obama voted against funding troops." Obama voted for the bill March 29 and April 26, then on May 24, 2007, following a veto by President Bush, Obama voted against a similar troop-funding bill, H.R. 2206, that lacked any withdrawal language.

Please accept our apology for our error.

-Brooks Jackson

This is why I trust them.

Answer the Question!

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Watch Palin dance. Facts are tough!

Style vs. Substance

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Transcript of Palin, Biden debate - CNN.com:

"PALIN: People aren't looking for more of the same. They are looking for change. And John McCain has been the consummate maverick in the Senate over all these years.

He's taken shots left and right from the other party and from within his own party, because he's had to take on his own party when the time was right, when he recognized it was time to put partisanship aside and just do what was right for the American people.

That's what I've done as governor, also, take on my own party, when I had to, and work with both sides of the aisle, in my cabinet, appointing those who would serve regardless of party, Democrats, independents, Republicans, whatever it took to get the job done.

Also, John McCain's maverick position that he's in, that's really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters that he has. Look at Lieberman, and Giuliani, and Romney, and Lingle, and all of us who come from such a diverse background of -- of policy and of partisanship, all coming together at this time, recognizing he is the man that we need to leave -- lead in these next four years, because these are tumultuous times.

We have got to win the wars. We have got to get our economy back on track. We have got to not allow the greed and corruption on Wall Street anymore.

And we have not got to allow the partisanship that has really been entrenched in Washington, D.C., no matter who's been in charge. When the Republicans were in charge, I didn't see a lot of progress there, either. When the Democrats, either, though, this last go- around for the last two years.

Change is coming. And John McCain is the leader of that reform.

IFILL: Senator...

BIDEN: I'll be very brief. Can I respond to that?

Look, the maverick -- let's talk about the maverick John McCain is. And, again, I love him. He's been a maverick on some issues, but he has been no maverick on the things that matter to people's lives.

He voted four out of five times for George Bush's budget, which put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he's got there.

He has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. He has voted against -- he voted including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the United States Senate.

He's not been a maverick when it comes to education. He has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college.

He's not been a maverick on the war. He's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table.

Can we send -- can we get Mom's MRI? Can we send Mary back to school next semester? We can't -- we can't make it. How are we going to heat the -- heat the house this winter?

He voted against even providing for what they call LIHEAP, for assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter.

So maverick he is not on the important, critical issues that affect people at that kitchen table."

(Via CNN.com.)

Look at the contrast in the responses of Sarah "Toothpaste Ad" Palin (friends words can't take credit) vs. Joe "Gaffe Master" Biden. Which had style? Which had substance? Well, for my money robotic talking points are just not up to snuff. There's too much at stake.

John McCain was a Maverick

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Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com:

(Via CNN Video.)

McCain on the maverick party: "You don't have to go home, but you have to get the heeeeellllll outta here!"

The Price of Disgust - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:

"But most people do not think like economists. When offered 10 percent or 20 percent or even 30 percent of the total, they are disgusted by the inequity — and willing to pay the price for that disgust by rejecting the offer."

(Via Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog.)

Talk about "bounded rationality!"

Economists on the Bailout - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:

"The only thing that seems to be moving faster than the financial crisis is the policy debate. The latest development is a statement that summarizes what I think of as the emerging consensus from academic economists; it expresses concern about various aspects of both the Paulson plan in particular, and the policy process in general."

(Via Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog.)

Slow down. Take a breath everybody.

FactCheck.org: Who Caused the Economic Crisis?:

"So who is to blame? There's plenty of blame to go around, and it doesn't fasten only on one party or even mainly on what Washington did or didn't do. As The Economist magazine noted recently, the problem is one of 'layered irresponsibility ... with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role.' Here's a partial list of those alleged to be at fault:
  • The Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates after the dot-com bubble burst, making credit cheap.
  • Home buyers, who took advantage of easy credit to bid up the prices of homes excessively.
  • Congress, which continues to support a mortgage tax deduction that gives consumers a tax incentive to buy more expensive houses.
  • Real estate agents, most of whom work for the sellers rather than the buyers and who earned higher commissions from selling more expensive homes.
  • The Clinton administration, which pushed for less stringent credit and downpayment requirements for working- and middle-class families.
  • Mortgage brokers, who offered less-credit-worthy home buyers subprime, adjustable rate loans with low initial payments, but exploding interest rates.
  • Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2004, near the peak of the housing bubble, encouraged Americans to take out adjustable rate mortgages.
  • Wall Street firms, who paid too little attention to the quality of the risky loans that they bundled into Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and issued bonds using those securities as collateral.
  • The Bush administration, which failed to provide needed government oversight of the increasingly dicey mortgage-backed securities market.
  • An obscure accounting rule called mark-to-market, which can have the paradoxical result of making assets be worth less on paper than they are in reality during times of panic.
  • Collective delusion, or a belief on the part of all parties that home prices would keep rising forever, no matter how high or how fast they had already gone up."

(Via FactCheck.org.)

Competing Tax Plans: Two Perspectives - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:

Tax Graph

(Via Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog.)

I love freakonomics. Looking at the complete set of graphs breaks down each candidates' tax plans. It clearly lays out the candidates' priorities.

Fixing the Debt Crisis

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Obama has come of the points I would include, equity stakes, tax cuts to middle class spenders. But I would also:


  1. Punish CEO's and other executives. They failed. They get the boot. That's how the market does it. We should do that here. Take a flat payout of say $2M and not a penny more and walk out the door scott free. Or they can take door #2: a shareholder lawsuit and/or a criminal investigation from the SEC and/or FBI on gross negligence of their fiduciary duty.
  2. Push board reform. These people were asleep at the wheel to get us in this position. Take the bailout and all board members associated with the CEO are out the door pending the work of a Search Committee's efforts to replace them. Put a time clock on that. Demand that the CEO is never Chairman of the Board nor does he/she have connections to the Chairman.
  3. Push for pension and insurance reform. These speculative assets have no place in people retirement portfolios or backing insurance policies. They require prudence not greed. Period.
  4. Get rid of social engineering around mortgages. To increase home ownership of the indigent, the government should subsidize mortgage payments for the indigent, but that has to be in conjunction with other initiatives like job training to earn a better wage, etc. No more tax entitlements--I mean deductions. People should pay what they can afford. Period. Let the debt markets work as normal.
  5. Focus on how to properly price MBS's/CDO's/CMO's. The government should use all the academic horsepower available in our higher ed institutions to solve this problem. Modern portfolio theory revolutionized the pension industry by redefining the "prudent man." Theory around these financial instruments, which aren't inherently bad, can solve this problem as well. If the theory is sound enough, we might consider them for conservative portfolios e.g. pension endowments

What would you do?

Fareed Zakaria: Palin Is Ready? Please. | Newsweek Voices - Fareed Zakaria | Newsweek.com:

"Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ('We mustn't blink.') But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish."

(Via NewsWeek.)

Ouch. I think the verdict is almost in. The upcoming debate is her last chance.