Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As both of my readers know, I am a very inconsistent blogger, sometimes posting no more than once a week. There are a couple of reasons for this. I have nothing original to say or it seems that the opinion is so self evident that there is no need to comment.

Falling in the latter category is the treatment of Sarah Palin by her fellow Republicans. Now, she is not my favorite politicians, and her views are anathema to me, but she is quite appealing and has accomplished a great deal. For her handlers to reveal instances of limited knowledge that were uncovered in prep sessions is reprehensible. She did nothing to embarrass the campaign with these statements. The privacy of internal prep sessions should have been respected.

I think that Palin is probably quite smart and I suspect that much of the knowledge limitation stems ftom a poor early education, which she never overcame by reading extensively. What these unwarranted disclosures do reveal, however, is the incompetence and indifference of those who chose her as the vice presidential, nominee.


Lieberman opposed the Democratic candidate, campaigned vigorously for the Republican nominee, and repeated slurs against Obama.How much more would anyone have to do to justify expulsion or similar punishment?

The Bush administration rarely held anyone accountable. Let's not be the same. Hold this man accountable for his actions.


Almost a no brainer. Governor Bill Richardson is clearly qualified and has the relevant experience that other contenders lack. Obama wants a diverse cabinet. And doesn't he "owe" Richardson for his endorsement (over his friend Hillary) and Hispanics for their votes?


WOW! He won!

Because Obama was so cool, calm, and collected, they said he wasn't tough enough to win. But after he won a grueling battle against the Clintons for the nomination, we knew better.

As a leading member of what my daughter calls Old Codgers for Obama, I worked the polls for 7 hours yesterday. In this overwhelming Republican part of NC, I may have met all 5 of the Democratic voters. Most voters were polite, decent, and courteous, but several of them were overtly racist For those few, I remind them of the black police officer from Philadelphia named Tibbs in the movie "In the Heat of the Night" To those, Barack Obama could say:

"Just call me Mister President"

A lot of joshing from all the Republican poll workers there, most of it good natured. Many of these seemed most worried about a huge increase in government hand outs, no doubt influenced by false claims from the McCain campaign. To those I explained (from an NPR commentator):

"He's going to take your money - and your money, and your money - and use it to subsidize the purchase of wedding cakes for gay marriages."


Admiration and Outrage. I have unbounded admiration of those who, in early voting this year,
have stood in line for 3, 6, or up to 10 hours in order to exercise their right to vote. They, and those who may have similar waits in the general election, demonstrate true dedication to democracy in America.

But such extreme waits are an outrage. How many are discouraged from voting by long lines, or physically unable to endure them? Here we are, supposedly the greatest democracy in the world,
placing unnecessary impediments to the exercise of the basic right of voting.

Cannot the country of the internet, space exploration, google, military might, and innovation figure out how to make it easy to vote? Certainly, some of the problems come from political misfeasance, but most of them stem from indifference, inefficiency, an insufficient funding. We can employ more innovative techniques such as mail voting, internet voting, and weekend election days. But the least we can do, and must do, is provide the funds, trained personnel, and number and variety of polling locations to provide our citizens a reasonable way to exercise the basic right to vote.


Some of the News
That may be True


Chicago. October 29, 2008. This morning, Senator Barack Obama's headquarters confirmed that the campaign had purchased the game 5 time scheduled for broadcasting after Obama's 30 minute infomercial. Campaign spokesman Reginald Smith noted that the unfounded charges by Senator McCain that Obama's broadcast would cause a delay in the start of the game played no part in the decision.

While the content to be aired in the extra time could not be revealed, campaign sources indicated that the Senator may be reading excerpts from the two books he had written.

When questioned by the media, Fox News responded with a press release. The release noted that this was not a whole game, since game 5 had been halted in the 6th inning. Besides, hardly any one was watching this series at all. In a separate release, Fox News announced that the entire conclusion of game 5 would be available on You Tube.


Barack the Redistributor. This seems like the best of the many anti-Obama messages the McCain campaign has tried: Obama says he wants to "share the wealth", meaning he wants to take your money and give it to other people. This is hypocritical since it really is our progressive income tax system, which McCain supports. But this message is easy to understand and not as far-fetched as trying to make Obama out as a terrorist.

Joe the Plumber. A helpful metaphor for McCain's claim that Obama will tax just about everybody. Sure, it's not true, and Joe is not a licensed plumber and will not be taxed. But it has a nice ring to it and makes it look as though McCain favors the little guy.
Obama's tax increase is just for those earning more than $200,000 or $250,000 per year and then is just a 4% raise (from $35% to $39%) on the top dollars of income.

Divided Government. McCain and his supporters are just now warning of the branches of government being solely in the hands of Democrats (see, Reid and Polosi). Strangely enough, we did not hear these misgivings from Republicans when they controlled all three branches prior to 2006.

Trade Pacts. McCain charged that a President Obama would engage in "unilateral renegotiations" of existing trade treaties. How do you do that?

Campaign Dressing. Big issue: McCain campaign spent $150,000 on clothes for VP nominee Sarah Palin, purchased at high end stores. Big deal. How does this differ from buying campaign signs, or installing Greek style columns? On the one hand, I'm glad to have the McCain campaign impeded by a phony issue. However, distractions such as this and the William Ayres terrorist implication and the ACORN foolishness have no place in in serious campaigns.

And, in this case, buying the clothes for Palin is clearly relevant and proper since she is mainly a campaign decoration.

Undecided Voters. Hard to realize that, after 20 months of campaigning and a barrage of campaign ads, that there are so many of them. I fear that many are for McCain and that some of these are trying to rationalize their decision by figuring out a reason other than race.

Young People. Many of these are for Obama since, as a whole, this group has lived with a diverse society where race, gender, and ethnicity matter little.

Uncounted. Many of those who connect only with cell phones. If young, they will break for Obama.

Harvard Law School. Obama's election as president of the prestigious Harvard Law School helped propel him into the national spotlight and his political career. On the other hand, my classmate there, Ted Stevens, has just been found guilty of 7 felony counts.

Withdrawal. As an unmitigated political junkie, I wonder what I'll turn to after Nov. 4th. Maybe shuffleboard?


Chris Matthews and others have been bashing VP candidate Sarah Palin for her view of the role of the vice president. In response to a question from a 3rd grader, she said, among other things, that the VP is in charge of the Senate and can promote policies there that will improve our nation.

The pundits keep pointing out that, under the Constitution, the vice president's role is only to succeed the president if necessary and to preside over the Senate, voting only to break any tie.

Has no one heard of Dick Cheney? He has demonstrated that the VP job can include running the White House, monitoring the CIA, firing Justice Department lawyers, promoting the use of torture, and starting wars in the Middle East.



Are we really happy to get an endorsement from this former White House press secretary? Would we welcome the endorsement of Michele Bachman? Or, heaven forbid, Osama Bin Laden?


John McCain and Barack Obama each gave a good light-hearted performance at the annual white tie Al Smith dinner, which brings Democratic politicians together and raises millions for charity.

Unlike the outcomes at the debates, John McCain earned at least a draw. His delivery was better than Barack's (Barack is Swahili for "That One"), who tends to laugh at his own lines.

McCain noted that he had replaced his entire campaign staff with Joe the Plumber. He aso said that he thought that some at the dinner were secretly hoping that he would win. Then he observed that Hillary Clinton was in attendance.

Obama was pleased that, in the heat of their political battle, he and Senator McCain could sit down at dinner together without preconditions. He made a reference to McCain's age but could have improved it to:

"At one of our debates, I praised Al Smith and compared our careers and John immediately
replied ' Senator, I knew Al Smith; Al Smith was a friend of mine; and ....etc....' "


Let me paraphrase an incisive remark by Jonathan Alter. Obama is doing well in part because many Americans had not been following the primaries and tuned into the debates expecting to see a Jesse Jackson but instead saw Will Smith.


Some of the News
That may be True


The UN Committee on World Hunger reported that demand for cat food, mainly in industrialized countries, has soared, resulting in severe shortages. In the United States, supply problems and higher prices have been particularly prevalent in Florida and Arizona, but officials note that problems exist throughout the country.

Social agencies have reported that many of its senior clients are suffering from early stages of malnutrition. Complaints of price gouging have risen dramatically and several states have enacted laws and are imposing fines. The Association of Community Senior Centers has called for congressional hearings.

Several pet food manufacturers are working round the clock and all deny any unwarranted price increases.

A spokesman for AARP issued a statement that, although acknowledging that the world is overrun with too many cats, there is no truth to the rumor that it is preparing a cookbook with recipes for cooking cats.


Unlike prior responses to crises, the Bush administration has been making a valiant effort to solve massive financial meltdown we are facing. Although the remedies make some sense, the stock market has continued to plunge and the economy is suffering.

This weekend, the G-7 foreign ministers are meeting in Washington to address this world wide problem with a world wide solution. Based on prior experiences, prospects are not good.

The solution? Get Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, and T. Boone Pickins together and do whatever they say.


McCain has a plan for the government to help distressed homeowners burdened by mortgages they cannot pay.
Is it true that the government would be paying off these mortgages at face value?

Doesn't the rescue plan do the same thing, giving the government these mortgages, which
have been securitized?

So isn't rescue route much superior, since purchases are at a heavily discounted price?

Millions of Americans live in apartments, condos, and small homes. Most of these have living room - dining areas and small kitchens.

How in the world do these families figure out their budgets and pay their bills when they do not have a kitchen table?