Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three in a row?

The only incoming presidents to ever have to lead a nation in such peril were Lincoln and FDR. Luckily those were our two greatest occupants of the White House. We can only hope that history goes three for three this time.

A little noted anniversary

We used to hear about it every year, and then on the "special" anniversaries, but today has passed with little mention.

One of my first memories, though, is when our principal came into my first grade classroom and told us that President Kennedy had been killed.

John, we hardly knew ye.

Can we kiss the wild places of America goodbye?

First the BLM opened up land to the highest bidder for natural gas drilling that is within site of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
Next it was the ultra-dirty and water-hog oil shale drilling leases being considered for sale in the arid states of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.
Now Secretary of Interior Kempthorne is proposing opening up land that borders Yellowstone National Park for geothermal energy exploration.
Does the Bush Administration hold nothing sacred? Why is the West always the poster child for life-altering, term-ending legislation for outgoing president's that obviously don't give a damn?

Before you know it, my favorite camping spots are going to be turned into parking lots.

When will this ever end?

The end of January can not come fast enough.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buy War Bonds Blondes

Sight seen:

While running lunchtime errands a grotesquely tricked Escalade pulled up next to me. The driver, a Cindy McCain vintage bleach blonde Botox nightmare in a ridiculous fur.

On the back of the car? A weathered "Support the Troops" ribbon.

Good to see you sacrificing for the cause, hon.

Let's put a stake through the heart of THIS monster

One result from the resounding electoral rejection of the neocon philosophy on election night should be to finally put to rest one of the great and most tragic myths of American politics--supply side economics. It just doesn't work, pure and simple. The only thing that "trickles down" is misery.

Three GOP presidents were great tax cutters, Hoover, Reagan and Bush the Failure. Each tax cutting splurge brought economic disaster. A tiny bubble initially, and then the INEVITABLE crash.

It is a failed philosophy that must forever be rejected.

Time to "corner" someone

We happily bring back one of our favorite features, and this week's winner is ever so richly deserving.

J.L. Stern of Highland Park, Illinois, gives us this gem:
Isn't it curious that when gas prices were rising every week, so many were quick to blame President Bush? Yet today, with the price dropping rapidly, you don't hear a word of praise. Is Bush really the cause of all our nation's ills, and have we learned anything from the gas price fluctuation?
Hmm, J.L., won't try and explain the complexities of the oil market to you, but at an ever so basic level, this is a commodity that trades on anticipated supply and demand. We now will have a president who won't wage mindless wars to torpedo the "supply" part of that equation, and in terms of "demand," well, a little thing known as Bush's Great Depression certainly tempers that.

Understand, J.L.?

Oh, and by the way...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hamlet on the Hudson, Part Two

This isn’t the first time that New York’s most famous politician hemmed and hawed and prevaricated about making an important, and very public, decision, thus leaving those dependent in one way or the other on that decision in a kind of limbo.

In 1992 New York governor Mario Cuomo … waited … and waited … and waited … to announce whether or not he would run for president, so long that he was dubbed “Hamlet on the Hudson.” At the very last instant, as an airplane idled on the tarmac ready to fly him to New Hampshire, Cuomo decided not to run.

Bill Clinton, for whom Cuomo was the main stumbling block to his presidential ambitions, made the comically self-serving statement that he was “moved” by the governor’s announcement. I’ll say (trans: relieved). Ironically, we now have a Clinton, Hillary (Bill too!), vying for “Hamlet on the Hudson” honors, as she engages in a tantalizing media dance, much to the Obama transition team’s consternation:

Will She or Won’t She (accept State, already)?

To Be or Not to Be (Secretary of State)?

Will He or Won’t He (disclose his financial records)?
President-elect Obama must be quite disingenuous if he honestly believed this process wouldn’t turn into the soap opera it’s become. It’s not as if he hasn’t been exposed to the Clintons’ machinations during the course of this long campaign.

And isn’t the Obama camp just a bit disingenuous to be complaining about leaks? Hell, Hillary and Bill may not have leaked that Hillary was “agonizing” over the decision, but this hasn’t stopped their acolytes from leaking.

Realistically, the delay probably has more to do with Bill and his foreign “affairs” than with Hillary. At the same time, the leak of Hillary’s Hamlet act – whether or not it’s true – has placed Obama in a difficult position.

At this point, Obama may need to give Hillary (and Bill) a weekend ultimatum, anticipating an announcement early next week, or cut her loose and cut his losses.

So much for “no Drama Obama”?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Some random thoughts

Since I was once again denied the title of "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine, I suppose I will have to continue scribbling for a living.

I'm wondering how Bush's pardon parade will shape up. It will be a long line, with Rove, Libby, Miers, Gonzalez, Uncle Ted from Alaska, etc. I've brought this up before but for some reason I don't see any human compassion within the man. In addition, offering pardons would be a tacit (or explicit) admission that the perplexedly legacy-obsessed preznit consorted with criminals. I think the first prevails though. He just doesn't give a damn.

SO if your industry employs people in suits, have a few hundred billion! If you employ union workers, screw you.

I REALLY like the team that the president-elect is assembling. Nice work. Memo to Clinton, Bill: You owe your wife one. Do whatever it takes to make this work for her.

I guess the only good to come out of that sad scenario is that Barack Obama owns as much of Joe Lieberman as he could want.

The hysteria out of the right is so pathetic. Sean Hannity bleating about ACORN and how McCain one WAAAY more COUNTIES than Obama (pssst one LIVES those "counties!") It is fun to see them try and cope when their entire political philosophy and world view was so thoroughly repudiated and rejected by the voters.

That glee, though, is sadly tempered by the fact that their disastrous policies have once again brought us to the brink of the abyss.

Division III football

A few posts below, Pete once again shows his enthusiasms for his alma mater's football program. I feel like I have to chime in here, noting that my alma mater went undefeated in the regular season and is currently ranked 2nd in the country in DIII. The mighty North Central College Cardinals are seeded first in their bracket (OH NO! A college football playoff? Doesn't that violate some law of nature or something? At least that's what the twits in the BCS tell me!) and will be hosting games for the first 3 rounds (it's a field of 64), if they keep advancing. It's a far cry from the suckitude they displayed when I was there, when they had four offensive plays - run right, run left, run up the middle, and throw an incomplete pass.

Missouri for McCain

Well, they've finally called Missouri for John McCain, with a win of around 3600 votes. Somehow, I don't think anyone will be pushing for a recount. That puts the final totals at 365 for Obama and 173 for McCain. In the predictions I posted here a few weeks ago, I had guessed 364-174. I missed on Missouri and Indiana (they switched) and Nebraska's 2nd district (the first time ever they've split like that). It helped that I was using the right resources to put my guesses together (especially, but that still feels good.

So what does it take to get kicked out of the caucus?

Apparently actively campaigning for the GOP doesn't do it, nor does badmouthing the Democratic standard-bearer. What does he have to do? Give Harry Reid a joybuzzer handshake? Spike the Senate navy bean soup? I guess we're just stuck with Joe Lieberman, pictured below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The lawyer in me

John Paul Stevens wants to live for another two months (hat tip to the Wildcats here!) and Ginsburg isn't healthy.

Yes, the Supreme Court gets all the press, but it is in the circuit courts where the heavy lifting is done legally. Bush has stacked the 11 appeals circuits with YOUNG ideologues with LIFETIME appointments.

Here's to an Obama presidency and returning sanity to the federal bench.

Stupid, stupid, stupid

SEC Files Insider Trading Charges Against Mark Cuban

Washington, D.C., Nov. 17, 2008 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Dallas entrepreneur Mark Cuban with insider trading for selling 600,000 shares of the stock of an Internet search engine company on the basis of material, non-public information concerning an impending stock offering.

Now of course these are just charges, nothing proven yet, but from my experience the SEC is really good in these cases. Mark, you just tossed away your chance to fulfill your dream of buying the Cubs. This is MLB's excuse for keeping you out of their little club.

What is it with the uber-rich? He avoided a loss of about $750,000 (allegedly) on the deal. That's chump change for someone like Cuban. Ditto Martha Stewart a while back. Perhaps it's that Type A win at all costs personality?

Dumb. Really dumb.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Idle cabinet musings ...

Okay, so I've succumbed to the pundits' parlor games re: Obama's cabinet appointments.

Peter, I'll eat my hat if Larry Summers gets Treasury. As you said, not only has Summers dated Laura Ingraham, a woman of no substance (which goes to his judgment), but he's made a lot of enemies with women of substance (which also goes to his judgment). I just can't see a President Obama tolerating this guy's intemperate mouth distracting from the gargantuan economic crisis the country faces.

Besides, Joe Biden already straddles the big mouth territory in Obama's nascent cabinet.

My hunch is New Jersey governor John Corzine owns the inside track on Treasury. Not only does he have financial services credentials (I know, Paulson was head of Goldman Sachs too), but he brings the added dimension of public service, in the Senate and as governor. He's highly respected as someone who can work across both sectors, with unions and management, and who cares for and understands the plight of the middle class and the underclass. He's the perfect candidate if Obama wants to stress the problems of "Main Street" vs. Wall Street. Tim Geithner, a Summers protege, is a good candidate for undersecretary. And to round off Obama's economic team, grey eminence Paul Volcker is a solid and logical choice to chair the President's Council of Economic Advisors.

State is Hillary's if she wants it. The problem is vetting Bill's foreign financial contributors to his foundation, and possible conflicts of interest.

Robert Gates would be an astute choice to remain at Defense as a Republican holdover to preside over Obama's gradual drawdown of troops from Iraq. Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn is also a possibility for the post.