Monday, September 29, 2008
So it looks like the Republican leadership could not--or perhaps WOULD not--deliver the votes; Democrats--unwilling to be exposed to charges that they "lost China"--had reportedly told Republican leaders that they would not bring a bailout proposal to a vote without support from 100 members of the minority party. So, did Republicans pull a fast one, or was the leadership simply unable to bring their people around?
It's worth noting that 40% of the Democrats voted against the proposal, too.
So, where do we go from here? As I write, the Dow Jones is off more than 500 points.
My suspicion is that the Dow's deep dive will push things, that there will be some more changes made to the plan to get some votes on both sides, and that a modified version of the plan will pass by the end of the week. I just hope I'm not whistling past the graveyard.
I feel like the Episcopal bishop who, being asked if he believed in baptism by total immersion, replied, "Believe in it? I've seen it done!"
(That is, by the way, a story that John McCain butchered earlier this year, telling it as if it were asked of a Baptist who, of course, would believe in total immersion.)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Remember all the fuss over Palin, how she was THE story? Seems a long time ago, right?
Look for pundits to pick that up in the next couple of days. It's not like Gerry Ford saying Poland was a free country in 1976--while the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place--but it's going to make some knowledgeable people question whether McCain has lost something off the old fastball.
While watching, I thought "Obama is shredding him." But, lo, there were the pundits calling it a draw or, in Buchanan's case, a McCain victory.
I admit that I am not objective, but, Huh? What debate were they watching?
I thought McCain looked tense--some of the commentary said both candidates looked calm--as he fidgeted around while Obama answered. He was repetitive--he told us that he hadn't been elected Miss Congeniality in the Senate twice. He wandered at times.
Most important, in Barack Obama Americans--at least those who haven't made up their minds--saw a man in command of himself and the issues. He was calm, but he showed flashes of life. He might not have counterpunched McCain with fury, but he said clearly several times that McCain had misrepresented the record. He was, in a word, presidential. Given the national mood for change--which is only strengthening minute-by-minute given the financial crisis--that's what Obama has to do. If he makes more Americans comfortable with him in the Oval Office, he will win. Simple as that. And he did that last night.
Take a look at James Fallows' perceptive analysis of the debate.
The polls, by the way, agree more or less with what I've said above.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
No, my figuring goes this way: With the two candidates rushing (sort of) to Washington for the big meeting on the bailout, and then having to get to Mississippi by tomorrow night, they won't have time to be fully prepared for the questions. AND THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO SEE. It would be good for the American people--and, frankly, good for whichever of them becomes our next President--to see them reacting to questions without being fully rehearsed.
By now it's clear that McCain is increasingly desperate to avoid a debate tomorrow night. Not only has the floated the idea of postponing it until next Thursday, and ditching the vice-presidential debate (I am shocked! shocked!), he's now said that he's confident that a deal on the bailout will be reached by Monday. This comes as AP has been reporting all morning that a compromise is almost at hand. So maybe McCain is going to Washington to throw a lever in the spokes and delay things.
The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake.
Now is a time to come together - Democrats and Republicans - in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.
This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.
There, now. Don't you feel reassured?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.
Andre Malraux wrote, "It was in Spain that we learned that we could be right and yet be beaten, that might did not always conquer might."
C. Day Lewis, later Poet Laureate of Britain, opened his poem The Nabara (about a Basque armed trawler sacrificing herself to save a convoy from the fascists):
Freedom is more than a word,
more than the base coinage
Of statesmen, the tyrant's dishonoured cheque, or the dreamer's
Inflated currency. She is mortal, we know, and made
In the image of simple men
who have no taste for carnage
But sooner kill and are killed than see that image betrayed.
(Apparently, John McCain told an interviewer that his favorite fictional character is Robert Jordan, hero of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Which is interesting, as it is widely believed that the inspiration for that character was an officer in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, a unit most of whose members were Communists.)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Yesterday, the President said that Congress should pass his proposal to ease the crisis on Wall Street without significant changes or improvements.
Now, there are many to blame for causing the current crisis, starting with the speculators who gamed the system and the regulators who looked the other way. But all of us now have a stake in solving it and saving our financial institutions from collapse. Because if we don’t, the jobs and life savings of millions will be put at risk.
Given that fact, the President’s stubborn inflexibility is both unacceptable and disturbingly familiar. This is not the time for my-way-or-the-highway intransigence from anyone involved. It’s not the time for fear or panic. It’s the time for resolve, responsibility, and reasonableness.
And it is wholly unreasonable to expect that American taxpayers would or should hand this Administration or any Administration a $700 billion blank check with absolutely no oversight or conditions when a lack of oversight in
Now that the American people are being called upon to finance this solution, the American people have the right to certain protections and assurances from
First, the plan must include protections to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to further reward the bad behavior of irresponsible CEOs on Wall Street. There has been talk that some CEOs may refuse to cooperate with this plan if they have to forgo multi-million-dollar salaries. I cannot imagine a position more selfish and greedy at a time of national crisis. And I would like to speak directly to those CEOs right now: Do not make that mistake. You are stewards for workers and communities all across our country who have put their trust in you. With the enormous rewards you have reaped come responsibilities, and we expect and demand that you to live up to them. This plan cannot be a welfare program for Wall Street executives.
Second, the power to spend $700 billion of taxpayer money cannot be left to the discretion of one man, no matter who he is or which party he is from. I have great respect for Secretary Paulson, but he cannot act alone. We should set up an independent board that includes some of the most respected figures in our country, chosen by Democrats and Republicans, to provide oversight and accountability at every step of the way. I am heartened that Secretary Paulson appeared to be softening on this position in his testimony this morning.
Third, if taxpayers are being asked to underwrite hundreds of billions of dollars to solve this crisis, they must be treated like investors. The American people should share in the upside as Wall Street recovers. There are different ways to accomplish this, including putting equity into these firms instead of buying their troubled assets.
But regardless of how we structure the plan, if the government makes any kind of profit on this deal, we must give every penny back to the taxpayers who put up the money in the first place. And after the economy recovers, we should institute a Financial Stability Fee on the entire financial services industry to repay any losses to the American people and make sure we are never asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes again. We can ask taxpayers to make an investment in the stability of our economy, but we cannot ask them to hand their money over to Wall Street without some expectation of return.
Fourth, the final plan must provide help to families who are struggling to stay in their homes. We cannot simply bailout Wall Street without helping the millions of innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.
There are a number of ways we can accomplish this. For example, we should consider giving the government the authority to purchase mortgages directly instead of simply mortgage-backed securities. In the past, such an approach has allowed taxpayers to profit as the housing market recovered. This is not simply a question of looking after homeowners, it’s doubtful that the economy as a whole can recover without the restoration of our housing sector, including a rebound in the home values that have suffered dramatically in recent months.
Finally, the American people need to know that we feel as great a sense of urgency about the emergency on
Let me be clear – we shouldn’t include this stimulus package into this particular legislation, but as we solve the immediate crisis on Wall Street, we should move with the same sense of urgency to help
It is absolutely wrong to suggest that we cannot protect American taxpayers while still stabilizing our market and saving our financial system from collapse. We can and must do both.
In summary, there is no doubt negotiations over the next few days will be difficult. I will continue to keep in close touch with Secretary Paulson, Chairman Bernanke, and the leaders of Congress to ensure that we can work in a bipartisan manner to get this done as quickly as possible. Our country is being tested by a very serious crisis. We are all in this together, and we must come together as Democrats and Republicans, on Wall Street and on
As if that wasn't enough, the US Supreme Court has said that it will decide by September 29th whether to accept Davis' appeal.
Nonetheless, yesterday the Georgia Supreme Court refused, by a 6-1 vote, to delay the execution. Davis is scheduled to be put to death later today.
Davis' only hope now is that the US Supreme Court will issue a stay.
And we call ourselves civilized.
Update: Less than two hours before Davis was scheduled to die, the US Supreme Court issued a stay of execution.
Note that one of the comments below comments on capital punishment as the most premeditated murder. I have long felt that the cruelest part of capital punishment is not the execution, but forcing the condemned to wait, knowing the date and hour of his death.
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.Give up? None other than the Chicago Cubs' greatest fan, George Will.
Could this be a small sign that truth is making a comeback?
And the bailout that Congress is now considering won't put more than a small dent in those numbers, at least not directly, and any beneficial effect will be many months away.
Oh, and the election is six weeks from today.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Update: CNBC reports that there is no deal on the government taking an equity interest in companies that the taxpayers bail out. But note that doesn't say that there won't be a deal along those lines.
Also note that according to CNBC, the Democrats would create an "Emergency Oversight Board," consisting of the Fed chair (Ben Bernanke), and the chairs of the SEC and FDIC to oversee the Treasury's work. The Treasury would also be required to report weekly on assets held and assets bought and sold that week.
Can you spell "SCAM?"
Fortunately, Democrats seem to have some spine--though whether that will bend or break in the next few days (or even the next few hours) remains to be seen. Barney Frank (D.MA, and my congressman) wants oversight by the Comptroller General and the Government Accountability Office. Senate Democrats wand to add provisions that would let bankruptcy judges reform mortgages, limit the pay packages of executives at bailed-out firms and give the government equity in the companies that are unloading their debt. The last provision, in particular, is sure to elicit howls of righteous wrath from Republicans who only want to socialize losses, not the potential for gain.
As of this writing (1:40 p.m. on September 22nd), the Dow is down $250.00. The market is unlikely to rise again--and, indeed, will almost certainly fall--until an agreement is reached on the bailout between Congress and the White House. Look for the administration to push the panic button, hard, to pressure Democrats into giving way. (Such conduct would further speed market decline, but at this point, that's just what Bush and his cronies want.)
Remember how they rushed the Patriot Act through, under the seeming threat of international terrorism? And how bad a job they did? The same thing is going to happen here, because no one is prepared to say that (a) we don't need a bill this week, or even next and (b) that Congress may have to stay in session right through the election to work this thing out right.
There was a time when bank holding companies were unlawful. There was a time when financial companies, at least, were required to concentrate on the businesses that, presumably, they knew. Then came the new era, when banks were permitted to buy insurance companies and stock brokers. (For all I know, a bank could own the newsdealer on the corner or the restaurant down the street.)
Twenty years ago, in the pages of The New York Times, I suggested that
Small companies often fail because their owners, who are knowledgable about their own businesses - how to make shoes or sell dresses - are not skilled at basic management that is common to all enterprises. Large companies have the opposite problem. Their executives know management, but all too often they have forgotten how to do business.I think I was right then (and, indeed, the deal I was talking about--a takeover of Federated Department Stores--subsequently proved that I was), and that the idea I expressed then is still true today. Yet even in the midst of a crisis provoked by unwillingness to make corporate leaders stick to their lasts, we have not learned the lesson.
Meanwhile, over the weekend foreign banks appear to have lobbied successfully to be included in the bailout. To be frank, there is logic in this: if we want American securities to be purchased by overseas investors--and at this point we have little choice--we can't very well leave them out on a limb while we rescue Americans. It's worth noting, however, that the foreign bank that apparently has the biggest stake in being included in the bailout is UBS, and that former senator Phil Gramm--Mr. "Americans are whiners," architect of the worst of the deregulation that got us into this mess, friend of the Republican candidate and a likely Secretary of the Treasury in the unlikely event that there's a McCain administration--is vice-chairman of UBS' US operations and a lobbyist for the bank.
As a sage reader of Talkingpointsmemo.com asked, given that intense lobbying that will certainly surround the bailout bill and its aftermath, who's going to be left to manage McCain's campaign?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.YES HE DID! John McCain, in the Sept.-Oct. issue of Contingencies, the journal of the American Academy of Actuaries.
(That sound you hear is McCain's campaign crashing to earth.)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Now that we have that out of the way, we can get back to frivolous issues like war and peace, and the economy.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States.Did he not know of Zapatero is? Is he confusing Zapatero with Chavez, of Venezuela, or Morales, of Bolivia, who have been vociferously anti-American? Does he really bear animosity toward Zapatero--with whom the Bush administration's relations have been cool--or has he just lost it? Whatever the explanation, it does not bode well for Republican hopes of cutting into the Democratic margin among Hispanic voters.
I just saw a story that the Queen Elizabeth II has arrived in Boston for the final time; later this year she's going to Dubai, where she will be permanently docked and turned into a maritime museum. (A museum of Persian Gulf maritime history? Of the lost glories of British maritime exploits? The story is silent.)
The QEII being taken out of service? I can remember when she was launched. Indeed, I still think of her as the younger sister of the original Queen Elizabeth. When I was a stripling youth, Queen Elizabeth was the largest and most opulent passenger vessel (perhaps the largest vessel) sailing the seas. And she and her sister-ship, Queen Mary, did not wander around on cruises--they ran regular passages, winter and summer, across the North Atlantic. Indeed, in 1952, my Dad crossed from Southampton to New York on Queen Mary. He brought me back a jigsaw puzzle--a wooden jigsaw puzzle--of a painting showing the ship coming out of Southampton in earlier days.
When I was a boy, I thought that the Queens would always sail the seas, that passenger liners would cross the Atlantic forever, and that the world was, more or less, a safe and predictable place. (Or maybe it just seems that way from a distance; I recall being afraid, from time to time, of being incinerated in a nuclear blast.)
I'm here to tell you that I was wrong. At least partly.
If you have been watching or reading the news, you know that we are in a financial crisis or meltdown (a term originated to refer to what happens when a nuclear reactor goes haywire). And a large part of the blame for what has happened lies on the failure to regulate financial markets. In one instance--that of so-called credit default swaps--the government is actually forbidden to regulate, thanks to a law sponsored by John McCain's good friend and financial adviser, Phil Gramm. The statute in question was passed in late 2002, in the dead of night, as lawmakers were leaving town for the Christmas recess.
So it turns out that one of the important tasks ahead of us is to rebuild the New Deal, at least those parts of it that protected us from unbridled greed and the mass stupidity that it brings. Bring back and SEC that actually regulates the offer and sale of securities. Strengthen regulation of the banking industry. Revive an anti-trust policy that assures real competition. Create new regulatory agencies to deal with financial devices that get around the old restrictions. Put some teeth into enforcement of the tax code against abusive tax shelters.
Oh, and while we're at it, lets rebuild America's roads, bridges and railways and modernize the electrical grid and telecommunications network.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
[Obama] talks about siding with the people just before he flew off for a fundraiser in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends. Let me tell you, my friends, there's no place I'd rather be than right here with the working men and women of Ohio.John McCain at an airport event near Youngstown.
Ah, but does he love them enough to invite them to one of his eight houses?
To put the AIG rescue in perspective, it's about 9 months worth of the Bush administration's spending in Iraq. In other words, an immense amount of money.
And don't forget that by acting as midwife to Bank of America's purchase of Merrill Lynch, the Fed and Treasury have created another institution that is too big to fail.
In the short term, the rescues of Bear Stearns, Fannie and Freddie and AIG are justifiable. But in the longer view, a large part of the financial crisis we now face is attributable to a climate that has permitted--nay, encouraged--the creation of institutions that are too big to fail. Their existence threatens the financial health of the nation and undermines democracy, because they remove discretion from government policy (which is a nice way of saying that they hold the taxpayers hostage) and freedom of action from governmental agencies.
So, along with regulatory reform, the next administration should undertake to assure that there are no private or quasi-corporations that are too big to fail. And yes, that means breaking up Bank of America, and AIG (if it is not broken up as part of the rescue), and reducing the size and influence of Fannie and Freddie.
Update: As more has come out about the AIG rescue, the structure has become clearer. The government is lending up to $85 billion over two years; in return it is getting collateral for the loan (will the collateral actually be worth the amount lent? In these times, who knows?). The government is also taking 80% of the equity in AIG. The company is paying a high interest rate--8.5% over the inter-bank lending rate (that's in the credit-card interest range). Apparently, the plan is to split the company up and sell or split off the parts of its business that have value. So, in sum, the deal looks businesslike and there is some possibility--maybe a strong one--that the taxpayers will come out whole and maybe even ahead on the deal.
Case in point: McCain economic surrogate Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, says that Palin is not qualified to run a major corporation like H-P. But, apparently, Fiorina thinks Palin IS qualified to run the country.
John McCain's lies are getting to be common currency and old news.
The next--and likely climactic--phase of the campaign is the economic meltdown. Here's the estimable Joe Nocera in today's Times:
How can it even be possible that we wake up on a Monday morning to discover that Lehman Brothers, a firm founded in 1850, a firm that has survived the Great Depression and every market trauma before and since, is suddenly bankrupt? That Merrill Lynch, the “Thundering Herd,” is sold to Bank of America the same weekend?Once again, it's the economy, stupid, and this time, we're not talking about whether you buy a second car or get a raise. Now, millions of Americans are worried about losing their homes, and fearful that if they lose their job they won't be able to find another one.
...after you get past the mind-numbing complexity of the derivatives that are at the heart of the current crisis, what’s going on is something we are all familiar with: denial.
This is a phase of the debate that Obama should win going away, and I predict that he will. After all, as today's Times also notes,
Shades of Herbert Hoover.
In early 1995, after Republicans had taken control of Congress, Mr. McCain promoted a moratorium on federal regulations of all kinds. He was quoted as saying that excessive regulations were “destroying the American family, the American dream” and voters “want these regulations stopped.” The moratorium measure was unsuccessful.
“I’m always for less regulation,” he told The Wall Street Journal last March, “but I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight” in situations like the subprime lending crisis, the problem that has cascaded through Wall Street this year. He concluded, “but I am fundamentally a deregulator.”
Let's hope that Obama and his people do not rest on their oars and take a soft middle road, figuring that voters dissatisfied--if not downright scared--by the present situation will carry him into office. That's probably what would happen, but the present crisis--which Alan Greenspan admits is the worst in his lifetime--calls for a reversal of the anti-government, anti-regulation fervor of the past thirty years, and that's not going to be easy to bring about even with a Democratic Congress. To create real, long-term reform is going to take clear-sightedness, hard work and great political skill.
Monday, September 15, 2008
And pigs can fly.
Reminds me of what Richard Armour wrote of Herbert Hoover: Hoover told Americans that "Prosperity is just around the corner." Unfortunately, people couldn't see to the corner because of the grass growing in the street.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I traveled to Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday, to see Obama at a rally there. He did go after McCain in a masterful display that interspersed explanation of his programs with references to the obvious: that John McCain doesn't get it.
Obama and his people have been ahead of the rest of us for 19 months. They still are.
Here's his speech yesterday:
It's one thing to exaggerate the size of crowds, but to tell a discernible lie about the source of the estimate is arrogant, stupid or both.
The fact is that no one has ever developed a good method for accurately computing the size of crowds in open areas. (Events like Obama's in Denver are different, because the number of seats in the stadium gives at least a basis for a reasonable estimate.) Year ago, I read--maybe from the great Teddy White--that part of the job of an advance man was to stand next to the police chief where he could say, "Pretty good crowd, chief. What d'you think, 8,000 people?" "No, not that many." "Maybe 6,000?" "Could be." And then the chief would tell the press that 6,000 people were in a crowd that might have been 4,000.
Campaigns offer a direct view into how a candidate will run a large complex organization. McCains true colors, his true moral convictions....are being demonstrated for all of us to see.Yes. For decades we have believed that--for all of his conservative views--McCain was at least a decent, honorable man. Now we know better. Under the white-hot pressure of the campaign, his desire to be President has erased any moral convictions that he might have had. And if he gets to the Oval Office, we can expect that the pressures of being President will do the same. If, that is, he has any convictions left.
(Did McCain really have such convictions at all? Remember that in 2000, he came close to being Al Gore's running mate, and becoming a Democrat. After that, he decided that his future was in the Republican Party, and became a loyal acolyte of George W. Bush--the result of which we're seeing in Obama's commercials. For at least eight years, then, he's been as malleable as any of the politicians he decries with such self-righteousness.)
Friday, September 12, 2008
I was invited to attend one of his town meeting events at the Denver Art Center. He had three giant screens in front and diagonally to the left an right of him. I was able to read his scripted speech before he said the words, and if he was interrupted he went off in non sequiturs.
Now, doesn't that make you feel good about the future of the country?
OK, do you know? Is it important for her to know?
James Fallows--for a couple of decades one of the best commentators on international affairs--explains why it is:
Each of us has areas we care about, and areas we don't. If we are interested in a topic, we follow its development over the years. And because we have followed its development, we're able to talk and think about it in a "rounded" way....You can see where he's going, but read the whole piece.
Here's the most obvious example in daily life: Sports Talk radio....
Mention a name or theme -- Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong's comeback, Venus and Serena -- and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.
People who don't like sports can't do that. It's not so much that they can't identify the names -- they've heard of Armstrong -- but they've never bothered to follow the flow of debate.
The first take a lighthearted approach (and a not-too-subtle view of McCain as being [old and] out of touch):
The second is Barack himself. In my not-so-modest opinion, it is a GREAT political advertisement. If I were running a campaign, ads like this would be the backbone of the advertising. Take a look and let us know what you think:
The most disheartening aspect of a scurrilous Republican ad falsely accusing Barack Obama of promoting sex education is its closing line: "I'm John McCain, and I approved this message."Here's one that's equally reprehensible and it, too, was approved by McCain.
As TPM notes, the ad drips with the kind of contempt that whites have often shown to black Americans.
In her interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, Sarah Palin said that human activity plays a role in climate change. In response to a suggestion that her words contradicted earlier statements, she said, ""Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that."
Well, maybe not exactly that, but she did say, ""A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. ... I'm not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made," and "I'm not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity."
Is someone going to point out to the Governor that in this Internet age, you can't get away with contradicting yourself, especially if you try to get away with denying you said something when you did?
Every day, she digs a bigger hole.....
After a lunch with Obama yesterday, Bill said, “I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win handily.’’
Of course, regular readers will recall that TONE came to that conclusion more than a month ago, but Bill was still sulking in his tent (or was it Hillary's?) then.
The pool report of the interchange with reporters after the lunch is interesting, because it seems to indicate a certain thawing between the former and future presidents.
The McCain campaign is defending Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's much-criticized inquiry into banning books at her hometown library, saying her questions were only hypothetical.I suppose the fact that she later tried to fire the librarian, who pushed back against the idea of banning books on some ideological basis was just a coincidence.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I guess she was for Monegan before she was against him.
This will certainly energize those who supported Hillary: When Palin was governor of Wasilla, Alaska, the town forced rape victims to pay for rape kits and tests. Wasilla was the only town in the state to charge victims. It did so until the state passed a law--which was done, according to Tony Knowles, a Democrat who was governor at the time, because of what Wasilla was doing--to outlaw the practice. Wasilla's police chief (who had been appointed by Palin after she fired his predecessor) defended charging the victims by saying, ""I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."
Oh, yes, electing Palin would be another blow for women's equality! At least if you mean that women can be as mean-spirited, cynical, and nasty as any man. But we already knew that, right?
If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president.Now, Rove is so devious that I'm tempted to think that he really wants Obama to forget Palin and run against McCain, because he thinks that will lead to a McCain victory. Fortunately, as you read through the article, you see Rove actually making the argument that Palin's time as governor renders her more qualified than Obama.
Whew, for a moment I was worried that I'd actually agree with Rove.
We're not going to spend $3 million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money.
That's not reform we can believe in.
Before signing off this post, let me note that any or all of those requests might be good ways to spend taxpayers' money. But if John McCain wants to base his claim to the presidency on opposing earmarks, he's got to take the hit when it turns out that his allies don't have clean hands.
Much as the attacks on that day still affect us, it is time to let them begin to recede into history.
Look at it this way: If you were Osama bin Laden, wouldn't your heart gladden at the thought that the United States is stopping in its tracks to remember what your followers did on September 11th? Would you not rejoice in the knowledge that you have gotten so deep under America's skin?
Almost certainly, you remember what day Pearl Harbor was attacked--in part, at least, because you've heard recordings of FDR repeating the date in his "day of infamy" speech the next day. But do you remember the dates of Antietam or Gettysburg? Of Midway? Or when the flag was planted atop Mt. Suribachi, on Iwo Jima?
Perhaps it is good that we seem to remember our defeats more clearly than our victories, but there comes a time when we should move ahead.
(Note: FDR did not use the term "day of infamy." Walter Lord did, in his book about Pearl Harbor, and he was probably not the first; I haven't bothered to check this. What FDR said, was "a date that will live in infamy.")
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Colonel Harland Sanders' handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices was to be removed Tuesday from safekeeping at KFC's corporate offices for the first time in decades. ...Louisville-based KFC, part of the fast-food company Yum Brands Inc., hired off-duty police officers and private security guards to whisk the document away to an undisclosed location in an armored car.Stay tuned.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Before we get to that, however, check out Obama's interview with Keith Olbermann (part 2 will be broadcast tomorrow).
OK, now the ad:
Struggling to accept that her child would be born with Down syndrome and fearful of public criticism of a governor’s pregnancy, Ms. Palin had concealed the news that she was expecting even from her parents and children until her third trimester.The New York Times
Before her son was born, Ms. Palin went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his arrival would not compromise her work. She hid the pregnancy. She traveled to Texas a month before her due date to give an important speech, delivering it even though her amniotic fluid was leaking. Three days after giving birth, she returned to work.
A few weeks after he was elected to the Senate at age 29 (the Constitution requires Senators to be 30, so that is as young as you can be and be elected--and then only if you will turn 30 before the first Monday in January), Joe Biden's wife and year-old daughter were killed in a traffic accident. His two sons, 2 and 3, were seriously injured. Biden considered resigning his seat in the Senate before being sworn in, but decided to serve after his mother promised to take care of the boys. Biden promised to come back to Wilmington, a 2-hour train ride, every night, which he has done for the past 29 years.
And which is the party of family values?
The Republicans would like nothing better than to make this a campaign about personalities, and to keep Palin at center stage for as much of the next eight weeks as possible. The thing they most want to avoid is a contest on the issues. So that is where Obama and Biden need to concentrate.
This doesn't mean avoiding criticism of McCain. On Saturday, I heard Obama pointing out that McCain's message of change doesn't include changes from Bush's tax, economic, energy, etc. policies. That's the way to attack.
We in the media and the blogosphere can go out after Palin's personality, positions and phylo-thin resume. (I am planning a post on those subjects.) Obama and Biden should attack her, or McCain, only when the subject is relevant to issues that will make a real difference in voters' lives.
(Note: McCain's impetuous choice of someone so unqualified is a valid point that should be made.)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
On Wednesday, The New York Times on the Web flashed a headline that caught my eye: “U.S. to Unveil $1 Billion Aid Package to Repair Georgia.” Wow, I thought. That’s great: $1 billion to fix Georgia’s roads and schools. But as I read on, I quickly realized that I had the wrong Georgia.Friedman goes to to explain why innovation must be our national aim.
While we still have enormous innovative energy bubbling up from the American people, it is not being supported and nurtured as needed in today’s supercompetitive world. Right now, we feel like a country in a very slow decline — in infrastructure, basic research and education — just slow enough to lull us into thinking that we have all the time and money to play around in Tbilisi, Georgia, more than Atlanta, Georgia.Read the whole thing.
The most charitable way to look at this is that the Republicans are so desperate that they figure their only chance is if the American people are really, really dumb.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
"In a letter sent today to the Texas governor, 22 former judges and prosecutors, including the former chief judge of the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeal and the former attorneys general of Maryland and Tennessee, called the setting of Hood's hearing date 'inexplicable." They've also asked the governor to issue a stay.
Thanks to ABC News.
Update: HuffPost describes two more focus groups, these of women who (mostly, it sounds like) supported Hillary Clinton. They weren't too impressed, either.
The total? $300,000. That's right, six figures.
Wonder what she'll trot out tonight.
And they have the absolute gall to call Democrats elitist.
(The alleged magazine computes Laura Bush's togs as having cost between $3400 and $4,300, which is still more than the average person can afford to spend on a wardrobe, let alone an outfit.)
Indeed, it's now clear, even before McCain's speech tonight, that the campaign is going to be Obama and Biden's warmth, optimism and hope for the future against the Republicans' defense of the status quo. I'm glad to be on the side that looks to a brighter day ahead.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Note: Her youngest daughter just took her hand, licked it and smoothed down her baby brother's hair. She's a real sweetie!
Gibson: Can you look the country straight in the eye and say Sarah Palin has the qualities and has enough experience to be commander in chief?
MCCAIN: Oh, absolutely. Having been the governor of our largest state, the commander of their National Guard, she was once in charge of their natural resources assets, actually, until she found out there was corruption and she quit and said it had to be fixed.
Of course, it helps to be a mayor. When I think people compare her experience, in fact, and accomplishments, I think ethics in lobbying reform in a state that was beset by the influence of special interests, cutting taxes, giving the citizens back money.
I mean, she's got an incredible resume, including a beautiful family and a wonderful, loving, caring family. So I will think that, over time, people will compare her accomplishments with that of Sen. Obama, and his are very meager.
The gifts that God has given to Barack Obama are as enormous as his future is unlimited. As his mentor, as his colleague, as his friend, I look forward to helping him reach to the stars and realize not just the dreams he has for himself but the dreams we all have for him and our blessed country.Can you guess?
That's right, none other than Joe Lieberman, introducing Obama at a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Connecticut in 2006. (The sanctimoniousness gave it away, didn't it?)
Thanks to Political Wire for this one.
Re “Palin Daughter’s Pregnancy Interrupts G.O.P. Convention Script” (news article, Sept. 2):
Gov. Sarah Palin has said she decided to carry to term her child who has Down syndrome. Of her daughter’s premarital pregnancy, she also says, “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby.”
But how can one claim to be anti-choice and twice speak about “decisions”? A true pro-life candidate must believe that there is no choice but to bear the child, and that the law should bar any such decisions to the contrary.
Indeed, if the governor learned of her own child’s Down syndrome from prenatal testing, is it not hypocrisy to ever have such a test since the fetus has a right to life regardless?
Perhaps Governor Palin is, in fact, a proponent of choice after all.
Princeton, N.J., Sept. 2, 2008
Re “Palin Disclosures Spotlight McCain’s Screening Process” (front page, Sept. 2):
Ever since Gov. Sarah Palin was unveiled as John McCain’s running mate, the press has had a field day in uncovering her foibles, personal and political. The real story, however, is Mr. McCain’s lack of judgment.
Mr. McCain has already caused concern by his appalling ignorance of world geography and his tendency to oversimplify complex foreign policy issues. His choice of Ms. Palin makes it plain that he is not in the least concerned with America’s stature in the world or the ability of the next vice president to step into the role of commander of chief.
The American people deserve better from the Republican Party.
John Jeffries Martin
I love how the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter is, according to John McCain’s campaign, “a private family matter.” This, after the Republican Party has spent 30 years making policy on women’s bodies. Why can’t Republicans recognize that reproductive decisions are private for all American women?
Chicago, Sept. 2, 2008